Former Leicestershire primary school teacher Sarah Moulds denies animal cruelty

A former primary school teacher has denied an animal cruelty charge after footage emerged on social media showing a pony apparently being punched and kicked.

Sarah Moulds, 37, of Somerby, near Melton Mowbray in Leicestershire, appeared at Lincoln Crown Court in a prosecution brought by the RSPCA.

She pleaded not guilty to a single offence that she caused unnecessary suffering to a protected animal, a grey pony, by kicking and hitting the animal.

Wearing a black top, a grey skirt and a blue facemask, Moulds walked into the secure dock at Lincoln Magistrates' Court, sitting as Lincoln Crown Court, on Monday, February 28.

The offence is alleged to have occurred on November 6, 2021 in the vicinity of The Drift, Gunby, Lincolnshire.

The RSPCA prosecuted Moulds after video footage filmed by hunt saboteurs was shared on Twitter.

At the time, Moulds had been participating in The Cottesmore Hunt - one of Britain's oldest foxhound packs.

The judge, Mr Recorder Paul Mann, QC, has set a trial date for October 17. The hearing is expected to last two days.

Paul Mann QC granted Moulds unconditional bail.

She was sacked from her post at the Mowbray Education Trust in Melton Mowbray in December last year after footage was shared online showing a woman repeatedly apparently slapping a horse when it ran into the road in Gunby.