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12 July 2014, 06:04 | Updated: 12 July 2014, 06:06
A woman's been disqualified for keeping horses for five years after being found guilty of neglect and causing unnecessary suffering to her four horses.
Gemma King (DOB 02/07/84), of Mallard Way in March Cambridgeshire, was also given a 12 month community order and made to pay costs of £300 at Peterborough Magistrates' Court on Friday (4 July).
She had been found guilty in May of not providing water, proper hoof or farrier care, treatment for external parasites, or an adequate environment for four cobs named Sooty, Bongo, Sweeper and Barney.
She was also found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering to Barney, a grey cob found in a very poor body condition with bones visible through his skin.
The horses were discovered by the RSPCA at an address at Horsemoor Road, March in April 2013 after concern was raised by a member of the public.
RSPCA inspector Jon Knight said: "This is the perfect example of a case where horses were left neglected without even the most basic equine care.
"The suffering of the horses in this case was completely unnecessary, and could have been easily avoided with a little bit of routine treatment to their hooves and other things.
"Luckily we were alerted in time, and in our care three of the horses were nursed back to health and have made a full recovery. Sadly Sooty died earlier this year of an unrelated illness but the other three are now well and ready for new homes.
"Over the past five years there has been a marked and very worrying increase in equine neglect and abuse. This is witnessed on a daily basis by frontline staff."
The country is currently in the grip of a horse crisis with the RSPCA and other horse welfare charities struggling to cope with the numbers of abandoned, neglected and abused horses. We are stretched to breaking point with about 115 places at our equine centres but more than 800 horses in our care.
We recently launched a Homes for Horses appeal to find homes for this record number of abused, neglected and abandoned horses and ponies in our care.
To find out more about rehoming, including anyone specifically interested in rehoming Barney, Bongo or Sweeper, please visit www.rspca.org.uk/homesforhorses or to support our campaign text HORSE to 70111 to give £3.
We are also calling for better enforcement of legislation surrounding identification so that we can trace the owners of neglected or mistreated horses.