Woman who wrapped horses’ wounds in baby’s nappies and plastic bags jailed
- Credit: Archant
A woman has been jailed after her ‘prolonged neglect’ left two horses in such poor condition they had to be put to sleep.
**WARNING: This story contains graphic images which some readers may find distressing.**
Lynda Spalding appeared before magistrates at North Somerset Courthouse on Thursday after she was reported to the RSPCA for negligence.
Spalding, of Sparks Way in Highbridge, used baby’s nappies, plastic bags and sellotape to protect two horses’ ‘severe’ leg wounds and called a ‘knacker’s man’ instead of a vet.
She pleaded guilty to two counts of causing unnecessary suffering to an animal. She also admitted to breaking a disqualification order from 2014 which said she was not supposed to keep animals.
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Spalding was the owner of nine horses which she kept at Yew Tree in Highbridge.
Fallen stock collector Sam Beach called the RSPCA on July 13 last year after he was called to move two horses for slaughtering.
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RSPCA prosecutor Lindi Meyer said: “Beach attended at Yew Tree, in Highbrige, later that day and was shown the horses.
“It was noted the stallion was in poor body condition. His front left leg had a poultice-type plastic bag on it and it smelled strongly of rotting flesh.
“His right fore leg also had an infected injury.
“The filly also had a bag on her front right foreleg sellotaped in place which Spalding removed to reveal a significant injury which was infected and also smelt of rotten flesh.”
In a statement, Mr Beach said the horses were both in ‘a terrible state’ and he was ‘shocked’ by what he had seen.
He took the horses and fed and watered them, documenting their injuries before putting them to sleep.
Mr Beach was then called by Spalding, aged 56, and the land owner on August 3 to remove the remaining seven horses.
The RSPCA and police attended with Mr Beach on August 5 and cautioned her after seeing the ‘cramped, dirty stabling’ with ‘soiled, saturated bedding’.
Mitigating for Spalding, Clive Rees said she was ‘not aware’ the disqualification was in place as she thought she had appealed the decision.
Mr Rees also cited Spalding’s ‘extensive’ medical history, saying she was ‘so pumped full of drugs’ she ‘could not think straight’.
When sentencing, chair Anna Blackmore said: “This has not been an easy case for anyone concerned.
“The evidence clearly shows you carelessly did not tend to the wounds.
“We saw clear prolonged neglect and the degree of suffering those animals endured was also prolonged.
“The horses were destroyed and it is obvious there was no alternative treatment. Even the person referred to in this court as the ‘knacker’s man’ himself made the reports to the police and RSPCA.”
Spalding was handed an 18-week prison sentence and ordered to pay £115 in costs and £700 to the RSPCA.
She was also banned from keeping or being involved in the caring of any equine animals in the future.
She is appealing the court’s sentence.
RSPCA inspector Hayley Lawrence, who investigated alongside her colleague inspector Marie Griffiths, said: “This was a very distressing case where horses were left to suffer needlessly as a result of irresponsible ownership and lack of care.
“These two horses were both left with serious injuries to their front legs for which no veterinary attention was sought.
“Spalding was also in breach of a disqualification order, having been previously prosecuted and convicted of cruelty towards horses in 2014.
“Courts impose disqualification orders on people convicted on animal welfare offences to protect further animals from suffering and it is saddening that she ignored that order and went on to cause further suffering to these poor horses.
“We are grateful to the member of the public who contacted us.
“We depend on the public to be our eyes and ears and we take breaches of bans very seriously – as do the courts.”