A 49-year-old woman has been handed a six-month suspended sentence after pleading guilty to 12 Animal Welfare Act offences that left three horses dead.

Vanessa Roll, from Albrighton, was sentenced at Birmingham Magistrates’ Court last Wednesday (21 July). As well as the suspended jail term, she was 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.

Roll caused suffering to six horses altogether. Several other horses in her care were found to be on loan and they have been returned to their owners.

RSPCA inspector Natalie Perehovsky found the horses at Yew Tree Farm on Wharf Road in Adbaston, Staffordshire with a series of welfare concerns. She found one bay colt, Michael, 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 in total: Michael, a black mare called Lizzie, a black mare called Phil and a bay mare called Stardance.

Rainscald was left untreated. Photo: RSPCA

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.

Roll admitted failing to meet the needs of six horses altogether, including chestnut mare, Nancy, and chestnut colt Chucky.

Unfortunately, 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.

‘A really bad way’

“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,” said Natalie Perehovsky.

“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.”

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