A Staffordshire woman who starved her pony, despite having bales of hay that she failed to put down for the animal, has been jailed.
Judith Bedson, of Longton Road, Stone, in Staffordshire, was found guilty at a trial last month of two offences - causing unnecessary suffering to the three-year-old piebald cob colt named Apache, between 20 April 2016 and 20 May 2016, and failing to meet his needs between 20 January 2016 and 20 May 2016.
On Thursday last week (14 September), magistrates sentenced her to 18 weeks in prison and disqualified her from keeping animals for life.
The court heard that Bedson had been getting hay delivered but was failing to place it in the field in Vanity Lane, Oulton, where Apache was being kept.
An RSPCA inspector later discovered that the bales of hay had gone mouldy.
Apache had been left thin as a result of being starved, and his ribs and spine could be felt through his winter coat.
Bedson told an RSPCA inspector that she had only had Apache for two weeks and
that he was thin when she got him - but posts on social media proved that she had owned him for a year. She also told the RSPCA that she was attending to him at night - but there was never any evidence of food being left.
“We were being misled from the very start, from how long she had the pony, to how often she attended to see to him and his feeding regime," said RSPCA inspector Laura Bryant.
“Unfortunately I know I will have to deal with many more people like Judith Bedson in my career, people who want an animal and do not take into consideration the time, knowledge, motivation or finances required to provide the animal with a suitable standard of care.
“Bedson built an elaborate story based on lies to try to argue she had only just rescued Apache, to explain his terrible state. The truth was she had already owned him for a year and simply wasn't attending to feed him daily.
“I hope the sentence is a deterrent to those who think having a horse or any other animal is their right and that they can ignore good practice and allow an animal to suffer.”
Apache has now made a full recovery. He is currently being cared for at a private boarding facility.