Two Bromsgrove women admit causing suffering to five horses found with rain scald

Pictured are Sonny (left) and Celly (right). Both owned by the same owner, Charlie Viriginia Hingley. Sonny later died as a result of his treatment. Credit: RSPCA

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Two women have admitted causing five horses to suffer in Bromsgrove after they were found with rain scald and lice infestation.

Charlie Virginia Hingley of Netherton and Lucia Kate Stanton of no fixed address appeared at Birmingham Magistrates Court on Monday 25 September for sentencing.

The five horses and ponies belonging to the pair were found in poor bodily condition between December 2022 and January 2023 on School Lane in Bromsgrove. Four of the horses were owned by Hingley and one by Stanton.

On 22 January 2023, witnesses saw a tractor being used to lift a collapsed horse in a field.

An equine bailiff was called and requested that the owner, Hingley, should call a vet immediately.

The vet attended and found that a second horse, Sonny had collapsed. He was in such a bad state that he had to be put to sleep on welfare grounds immediately.

Celly, the horse that was lifted on a tractor, was in an emaciated condition and was later relinquished by the owner and removed from the site.

The RSPCA was called the following day to examine the welfare of Hingley and Stanton's remaining horses. Inspector Suzi Smith was concerned for some of the remaining horses at the location and notified a vet immediately.

Pictured is Bobby, who under Hingley's watch had a protruding spine, lice infestation, dull and scruffy hair and a rain scald. Credit: RSPCA

The vet confirmed that the horses were suffering. Two of the horses were signed over by Hingley to the RSPCA and the third pony, Waffles, which belonged to Stanton who was not present, was taken into possession by police and placed into the care of the RSPCA.

In their witness statement, the vet described all three horses as having a body condition score of just one out of five, with the most likely cause being an extremely high worm burden.

They described Waffles and Bobby's coats as "dull and scruffy with a heavy lice infestation" and Luna as suffering from "extensive rain scald over the back and rump".

Sadly, despite the best efforts of the vet, Luna's condition deteriorated and the veterinary team made the decision to put her to sleep to prevent her suffering further.

The inspector said: “When I arrived at the first field to check on the remaining horses, my initial concern was for a piebald mare, Luna, and a young Shetland, Waffles, because both looked to be in poor body condition visually, despite fluffy winter coats, and Luna had rain scald on her back.

“After taking a closer look at Luna, I could see she was significantly underweight, I could see her ribs, pelvis, spine and shelf at the top of the ribs, and when I put my hands along Waffles’ back, neck and pelvis, I could feel all these structures easily with no muscle along the sides of the spine."

However, the inspector did confirm that Waffles and Bobby made good recoveries in RSPCA care and Celly has made a good recovery in the care of an equine bailiff.

In Magistrates Court on Monday 25 September, Hingley pleaded guilty to four offences of causing suffering to horses: Sonny, Celly, Luna and Bobby. Stanton also admitted causing suffering to a miniature Shetland pony named Waffles.

Hingley was disqualified from owning horses for life with no appeal after 10 years. In addition, she was given two twelve-week prison sentences to run concurrently, suspended for 12 months.

She was also given a rehabilitation activity requirement of 15 days and ordered to pay £400 in costs. 

Stanton was disqualified from owning equines for 10 years with no appeal for five and was ordered to pay a fine of £300, costs of £400 and a victim surcharge of £120. 

The ban on horses for both women also extends to dealing in horses and transporting and arranging the transport of horses. 

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