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Sanctuary relieved rescued horses step closer to secure life

June 15, 2009


Esther and her mum shortly after their arrival.

Redwings Horse Sanctuary says it is relieved that the 29 horses in its care are a step closer to being finally secure following the sentencing of the Gray family for horse neglect.

Five members of the Gray family were sentenced last week over the neglect of horses on Spindles Farm at Amersham, in Buckinghamshire, which sparked the biggest equine welfare operation in British history.

In all, 125 equines were removed from the property early in 2008 and charities have spent close to a million pounds rehabilitating and caring for the animals.

"Today, 29 ponies and donkeys here at Redwings are one step nearer to being finally secure after eighteen months of living with the threat of being returned to the owner they were rescued from," Redwings said following the sentencing.

"We are relieved beyond words that the future of equines such as football-playing Pinocchio and young donkey Esther is a step closer to being finalised, pending the outcome of the defendants' appeal against their sentences."

The charity revealed it had offered a home to 10 more Spindles Farm horses who are expected soon from RSPCA lodgings.

Redwings said the public was horrified by the case and many had sent messages of support.

The charity provided a home to two-month old donkey foal Esther, who inspired the major fundraising effort named Operation Esther.

Timothy the donkey was born the day after the rescue to his exhausted mother, Mary.

"Esther remains cautious but Timothy, who knows nothing other than life at Redwings, loves human fuss," the charity said.


Pinocchio (left) and Timothy at Redwings
Miniature horse Pinocchio was a year old when he was rescued from Spindles Farm. He weighed just 46kg on arrival, equivalent to two bags of feed.

He doubled his weight in the following ten months. When he arrived he was classified by our resident vets as "body condition score 0-1/2", which is as thin as an equine can be before they are considered to be facing death.

Pinocchio had lice, breathing problems, wasted muscles and was riddled with worms.

"Now fully recovered, Pinocchio is now full of personality and has discovered a knack for football that would make Sir Alex Ferguson reach for his chequebook!"

Redwings chief executive Lynn Cutress said: "It would be our privilege to give these animals the best possible care for the rest of their lives. Seeing Pinocchio play with his football without a care in the world makes it all worthwhile."

Head of welfare Nicolas De Brauwere, who gave veterinary evidence during the trial and was present at the site managing the charity's involvement, said: "This has been a landmark case which shows what the new animal welfare act can deliver to protect all the animals in need of help and not just the extreme cases.

"We are delighted with this result. We feel very proud we were able to respond at very short notice, using our large-scale round-up skills developed over the years, to support the RSPCA in safely loading and transporting some of the equines involved in this operation."

The charity offered its thanks to supporters.

 

 

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