Ban for owner who kept horses on state handouts

Two of the horses owned by Sabrina Willey who could not afford to fund their upkeep.

Two of the horses owned by Sabrina Willey who could not afford to fund their upkeep.

  • by Elizabeth Broughton

A HORSE owner who splurged taxpayers’ cash on horses has been slammed after cruelly neglecting the animals.

Sabrina Willey ran a 14 stable yard with 11 horses on an acre of land – despite living in a council house and funding her pets through state handouts.

And the 35-year-old has now been hauled before the courts after neglecting the animals and leaving one in such poor condition it had to be put down.

Willey, and her partner Phillip Gee, 44, both of Loftos Avenue, South Shore, moved their horses to two different paddocks after receiving warning notices from the RSPCA, and when the charity eventually tracked them down a grey mare called Sarn had to be put down after being removed from a field that contained poisonous ragwort, metal and broken glass.

Gee and Willey both pleaded guilty to four charges at Blackpool Magistrates Court, one relating to six of her horses and three to eight of them, kept at Skippool Road, Thornton, between July and August last year.

In court on Wednesday, District Judge Jim Clarke said: “It is clear from the outset this was unrealistic and naive to have so many of them.

“When you look at your home and financial circumstances, you could not avoid them avoiding suffering and cruelty.

“You could not afford any treatment or proper livery and feed for them.”

After the hearing, RSPCA investigator Mandi Taylor said Willey had been living beyond her means.

She added: “We are happy this case has finally come to an end. It is clear she wanted a horsey lifestyle but could not live up to it.”

Willey, who was said to be the driving force behind keeping the horses, got an 18-month probation order and must pay £1,000 costs.

Gee, who will pay the same costs, got a 12-month probation order and must carry out 150 hours’ unpaid work.

Both were banned from keeping horses for 10 years.

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