Woman banned from keeping horses after three rescued from Yorkshire field by RSPCA
Sam, a 19 to 21 year old chestnut thoroughbred gelding, Pepsi a 17 to 23 year old bay thoroughbred mare and Tony, a piebald Shetland gelding aged around 17 years old - were living in hazardous conditions in a field off School Lane, Wike, in West Yorkshire back in April 2020.Their owner, Dianne Cox, 64, of Churchill Flats, Poole in Wharfedale, had denied neglecting the horses but was found guilty of two animal welfare offences following a trial at Kirklees Magistrates Court on January 14, 2022 and banned from keeping equines for 24 months.The court also imposed a deprivation order on Sam, Pepsi and Tony.
Cox appealed her conviction and sentence at Leeds Crown Court shortly after the trial concluded but abandoned it on January 26 this year, meaning the RSPCA - which has met the cost of caring for the horses at a private equine facility since the start of the investigation - can now legally begin the process of rehoming them.RSPCA inspector Kris Walker, who led the investigation for the animal welfare charity, said: “After nearly three years, we’re pleased that this long-running case has finally concluded and we can, at last, start to find permanent new homes for Sam, Pepsi and Tony.
"The contrasting pictures of the horses now and then speak for themselves, and we’d like to say a huge thanks to the staff at the equine yard who have supported them on what has been a very long journey. It’s clear that once they started to receive appropriate nutrition, endoparasite care and dental treatment, they started to go from strength to strength, although Sam is likely to be permanently lame to some degree and will need closely monitoring for the rest of his life due to the chronic neglect of his hooves.”
At the trial the court heard how inspector Walker visited the field in Wike on April 12, 2022 following concerns for the horses’ welfare and they were seized by police on the advice of a vet who attended the location.
Grazing at the site was extremely sparse, fencing was in a state of disrepair and loops of sheep netting and loose barbed wire had the potential to cause injury.
The court heard Cox had previously been warned by RSPCA officers in 2018 and 2019 about the condition of her horses and given notices to improve their welfare but had failed to heed advice.
A vet who gave evidence at the trial said the horses had suffered because Cox had failed to take preventative health care measures to protect them from pain, injury, suffering and disease.
In mitigation the trial was told that Cox had 30 years’ experience of breeding horses and had appropriate qualifications. Her solicitor said the offence had arisen because of her considerable difficulty in locating a farrier.
He said there was evidence she had one booked for April 20 - eight days after the horses were removed from the field - and that she was also purchasing regular food from an agricultural supplier.