Woman banned from keeping animals after starving and sick horses found at farm

A woman from Albrighton has been banned from keeping nearly all animals after letting horses suffer with starvation, chronic foot abscesses, poor dental care and rain scald.

A horse under the care of Roll. Photo: RSPCA
A horse under the care of Roll. Photo: RSPCA

Vanessa Roll pleaded guilty to 12 Animal Welfare Act offences and was sentenced at Birmingham Magistrates' Court.

The 49-year-old had kept six horses at a farm in Staffordshire, three of which died as a result of her care.

RSPCA inspector Natalie Perehovsky found the horses at Yew Tree Farm on Wharf Road in Adbaston, Staffordshire, with a series of welfare concerns – with one bay colt, Michael, found collapsed and largely unresponsive in a field on arrival, with his ribs visible through his skin.

Four horses suffered as a consequence of Roll's lack of appropriate care – the bay colt named Michael, a black mare known as Lizzie, a black mare called Phil and bay mare Stardance.

Roll failed to deal with rain scald and dental care to three of the horses, while Michael had a chronic foot abscess and Lizzie suffered from poor bodily condition and weight loss.

In total, Roll admitted failing to meet the needs of six horses, including a chestnut mare called Nancy and a chestnut colt known as Chucky.

Lizzy and Phil were put to sleep due to the extent of their injuries, while Nancy did not survive after being admitted to an equine hospital with grass sickness. However, the other three horses survived.

Some of the horses in Roll's care were on loan and are back in the care of their owners.

RSPCA inspector Natalie said: "I found these poor horses in a really bad way and sadly four suffered due to a combination of factors, including very poor bodily condition, dental issues, infected wounds and rain scald.

"Some of the horses in Roll's care were on loan, so this sad case reminds us of the importance of any equine owners always being very mindful of where they place their animals.

"The environment at this stud in Adbaston was far from appropriate; and sadly this case only underlines what can go wrong if horses aren't cared for properly.

"Thankfully, some of these horses survived and now have a second chance of happiness, but these problems could have been avoided had these animals been given the veterinary care they needed, and a suitable environment to live in."

Roll, of Albert Road, was given a six-month suspended jail term on Wednesday, July 21, ordered to do a 20-day rehabilitation activity requirement, 60 hours of unpaid work, and banned from keeping all animals except for dogs for the rest of her life.

She was also told to pay £400 in costs and a £156 victim surcharge.

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