A parish councillor from Leeds has been banned from owning horses after being found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering to her three Shetland ponies.
Amanda Ann Munro, 54, was ordered to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work following a three-day trial at Leeds Magistrates’ Court.
After the hearing, RSPCA inspector Carol Neale said the three ponies - a mother, father and their foal - were kept in “disgusting conditions, literally wading around in faeces.”
She added: “This was a case of long term neglect, aggravated by the fact that the owner was given advice and warned previously but did nothing.”
The sentencing hearing was told that Munro, of Rakehill Road, Scholes, neglected the animals over a period between November and December 2015.
The ponies, named Cocoa, Cookie and Oreo, were kept in a paddock adjoining Ms Munro’s home.
Sentencing Munro, District Judge Marie Mallon said: “In respect of these offences, I do take into account the fact that effectively you were of previous good character, you certainly have nothing similar recorded against you. But they are serious offences and, in particular, the causing unnecessary suffering offence is serious.”
Munro was found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering to three Shetland ponies and failing to ensure their needs were met under the Animal Welfare Act 2006.
She was also found guilty of failing to ensure the needs of a goat, which was housed alone above a stable in the paddock, were adequately met. Munro was found not guilty on a charge of causing unnecessary suffering to the goat, named Caramel. The goat is now being cared for by the RSPCA.
A written judgement, prepared by the judge before passing sentence, said that Dr Kara Johnston, a vet who works exclusively with equines, physically examined the ponies and described all three as “very thin”, and said she could feel their ribs and spines. The judgement said the cause of their poor body condition was an inadequate diet.
After the hearing, Sarah Tucker of World Horse Welfare, which is now caring for the ponies, said: “When I first visited the defendant’s property I found three Shetland ponies all huddled in a corner, stood deep in mud, faeces and urine. They were very thin and although I advised the owner on providing appropriate nutrition and a clean, dry environment for them, this had not been heeded on a return visit at a later date with conditions worsening by the day.”
In court, Munro was given a 12-month community order with a 200-hour unpaid work requirement. She was ordered to pay £500 costs and an £85 victim surcharge.
Munro has also been disqualified from owning, keeping, dealing or transporting equines or goats for life.
In a separate order passed by the judge, other ponies owned by Munro which are kept at a livery in Garforth will also be removed from her care. Munro is a parish councillor for Scholes on Barwick in Elmet and Scholes Parish Council. She has lodged an appeal against both her conviction and sentence.