A woman from Stoke-on-Trent has been convicted of causing 'unnecessary suffering to two horses and a dog' in a prosecution brought by the RSPCA.Claire Machin of Norton, appeared at North Staffordshire Justice Centre in Newcastle under Lyme on November 1st charged with three offences under the Animal Welfare Act.

She was sentenced to 24 weeks in prison - suspended for 18 months - ordered to pay £1,000 in costs and was disqualified, for life, from keeping any animals.The RSPCA took Machin to court following two separate complaints regarding her pet shihtzu Coco, and two horses. RSPCA inspector Charlotte Melvin, who investigated alongside colleague Laura Bryant, said:

“We were invited along on a warrant as part of an investigation by Animal Health and found Ms Machin’s dog, Coco. She was very, very thin and vets gave her a body condition score of just one out of five. The vet also found a huge bladder stone which she said was the biggest she’d ever seen in comparison to the little toy dog’s size - it took up the whole of her bladder.”

RSPCA Inspector.

Around a month later, in March, the RSPCA were called again to emaciated ponies in a field.

“Two colts in the field were extremely skinny and the vet who saw them gave them a body condition score of just 0.5 out of five. They were so weak they couldn’t even pick their back legs up to walk. We weren’t sure if they were going to make it and, for the first week in our care, one of the little ponies had to be scooped up off the floor several times a day as he didn’t have the strength to stand himself. Thankfully, all the animals recovered and are doing amazingly well and can now go on to be rehomed."

RSPCA Inspector.

Machin denied three offences of causing unnecessary suffering - one allegation in relation to the dog and one each in relation to both of the ponies - but was convicted on all counts and sentenced under Section 4 of the Animal Welfare Act.