A British mother and daughter convicted of causing unnecessary suffering to three horses have been banned for 15 years from keeping all animals.
Sally-Anne Rix and Louise Carla Rix, both of Furze Lane, Felthorpe, Norfolk, were also each given an eight-week suspended prison sentence, ordered to undertake 80 hours of community service and made to pay £180 costs when they appeared in the Norwich Magistrates Court on Friday.
The pair had each been found guilty in mid-February of 13 offences under the Animal Welfare Act, all relating to horse welfare and a breach of a ban on keeping animals.
The horses, Elf, Sprite and Pixie, have since fully recovered in the care of the charity, Redwings.
RSPCA inspector Ben Kirby and Redwings senior field officer Julie Harding had visited two sites in North Walsham, Norfolk, last year and found a number of horses in a neglected state.
Under the advice of Redwings’ welfare veterinarian, Roxane Kirton, three of them – Elf, a dark bay thoroughbred gelding; Sprite, a chestnut thoroughbred mare; and Pixie, a bay mare – were deemed to be suffering to such an extent that they were removed from the site and brought to Redwings for care.
Kirton believed they could have been suffering for up to two weeks.
Inspector Kirby said: “These poor horses all had lice, were extremely underweight, had terrible problems with their feet and in general were just in a horrible condition.
“Pixie was completely lame in her right foreleg and suffering from colic as a result – but still trying to stand on it which must have been incredibly painful.
“Elf was very thin – a body condition score of 1 – while poor Sprite had bald patches and was severely emaciated, with a body condition score of just 0.5.
“It was a harrowing experience seeing them like this and I am so pleased that justice has now been done and we can save these horses, and hopefully others in the future, from a similar fate.
“I am extremely grateful for all the help and support from Redwings, who have done a brilliant job in turning these animals around.”
Kirby said it was a lengthy investigation which took several visits from veterinarians.
The case, he said, was a good example of how charities could work well together to tackle equine issues.
Investigations revealed that Sally Rix had received a ban on keeping equines for 10 years in 2012.
She and Louise Rix denied ownership of the horses, but evidence revealed they had arranged for the delivery of them to the land, dealt with associated husbandry and paid for their grazing.
Redwings senior field officer Julie Harding said: “We are absolutely thrilled at the outcome in this case.
“The level of cruelty and neglect was appalling and yet both defendants seemed oblivious to the suffering they had caused.
“They showed a complete disregard for even the most basic equine care and showed no respect for their horses and their needs.”
Harding praised the work of Kirby in his determination to get justice for the horses.
“It was great that the chairman of the magistrates acknowledged the hard work that Redwings and the RSPCA have put in,” she said.
“Sprite, Pixie and Elf are all doing brilliantly now. They are real credit to our staff at Redwings and we are so proud of their recovery.”
People in Britain can support Redwings by texting RWHS00 followed the amount they want to give (eg RWHS00 £5) to 70070 or click here to donate via the charity’s secure server.