Jane Moore of Jemoon Stud Farm, Long Lane, Market Weighton, East Riding of Yorkshire, pleaded guilty to 10 offences of causing unnecessary suffering to 17 horses and one charge of failing to meet the needs of 36 equines under the Animal Welfare Act 2006.
She appeared for sentencing at Hull Magistrates’ Court on January 17 and was handed a 20-week prison sentence, which the magistrates suspended for two years. They also disqualified Moore from keeping equines indefinitely and told her to pay £13,099.27 in court costs.
The animal charity investigated a report about welfare concerns at the stud farm where the defendant kept 36 horses, and RSPCA inspector Natalie Hill attended with a representative from World Horse Welfare on February 14 last year. Because of the inspector’s concerns about the condition of the horses, an equine vet was called onto the site. One horse was in such a poor state of health that the vet had to euthanise him immediately to end his suffering. Three other horses were euthanised two days after the original visit while six other horses were seized from the farm on the first visit.
Inspector Hill stated in the court: “All the horses were living in extremely dirty stables with little food or water. They all had overgrown hooves, and they were in poor body condition. Within one stable block, there was a very strong smell of urine, and the horses’ rugs were very dirty and extremely heavy. It appeared to me that all the horse stables had not been cleaned in some time, and their feet were very long and overgrown on some horses.”
At the time of the visit, the defendant was in hospital and had left the horses to be cared for by some friends. But when it became clear they would be unable to meet the needs of the remaining horses, all the equines were removed from the farm by February 22.
A vet’s expert report presented to the court concluded that Moore had failed to ensure a suitable environment and adequate veterinary care for them and failed to ensure they were kept in healthy condition. Of the 36 horses, 22 were underweight; most suffered from dental issues and overgrown hooves, while three had lice and mite infections.
The vet said that Moore had also failed to take action to euthanise unwell animals when she had been advised to. A stallion called Puzzle Pic ‘n Mix was in very poor condition and suffering from a prolapsed penis and severe dental issues. A vet who visited the farm in December 2022 advised the defendant the kindest course of action would have been to put him to sleep if his condition failed to improve.
An ageing Cleveland Bay, called Earlswood Traveller, who was lame in all her legs and was suffering from a lice infestation and dental disease; Spadge, an elderly bay gelding, who was also lame and was suffering from a sinus cyst; and Heidi, a chestnut mare, who was also lame, were put to sleep two days after the inspector’s original visit to end their suffering.
Six more horses were put to sleep in the months after the RSPCA’s visit to Moore’s farm because their health was so poor.
Moore cited her lack of finances as reasons as to why some of the health problems were not addressed. However, the expert vet said that an owner with little or no help, like the defendant, would not have been able to manage such a large group of horses.
The vet said that the surviving horses require specialist ongoing care, and it was not in their best interest, or that of the owner, for them to return to the stud farm. Moore has since signed all the remaining equines over into the care of the RSPCA.
In mitigation, the court was told Moore was no longer up to the task of looking after such a large number of horses. The court was told she was isolated and lonely after a marriage break-up, and the loss of her parents and her pride had prevented her from asking for help.
The chairman of the magistrates told Moore: “These animals were so obviously struggling that intervention was obvious and necessary. The fact that it was not forthcoming was largely down to your pride and your refusal to ask for help.”
Moore was also ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £154.
Speaking after the hearing, inspector Hill said: “These horses were found in dreadful conditions with multiple health problems. They were being kept confined to their stables for long periods, and it appeared they were rarely exercised.
“One sadly had to be put to sleep on the day we first visited, although that course of action had been recommended by a vet several months before. Several other horses were also in very poor health, including one whose teeth had grown through his cheek and was in a lot of pain and discomfort.
“In all 10 of the 36 horses have had to be put to sleep, and the others have got long-term health issues from being neglected for such a long time, such as ligament and joint problems, and only a small number will be able to be rehomed.”