A Blackpool woman banned from keeping animals for 10 years following a cruelty case is keeping pets at her home, it has been revealed.
Nicola Haworth, 58, was handed a strict 10-year ban on owning animals by a court in July after ‘horrendous’ living conditions meant 11 pure-bred horses in her care had to be put down.
Six horses were immediately put down by a vet after they were found in ‘the worst conditions the vets and RSPCA inspectors have ever seen’ at The Sycamores on Jubilee Lane, Marton.
Another five pure bred Arab mares and stallions had to be killed later because of their unbearable suffering.
Ms Howarth was fined £4,000 and forbidden from owning any animal for 10 years at Blackpool Magistrates’ Court - but three months on from her conviction, cats and dogs can still be found on her property.
From the window of her cabin home at the stables, she told a Gazette reporter last month that the cats were feral after five of them were seen wandering on her land on that day.
At that time, a dog could be seen in the house with her.
When the reporter returned at a later date, cats remained at the property.
Ms Haworth refused to comment when asked about the animals.
A dog and another cat could be seen in her cabin with her.
Joan Lamb, 62, a volunteer at animal rescue group Harvey’s Army, said she attended the stables with a colleague in August after the charity received tip-offs that cats and dogs were being kept there.
She said: “We went to the property; she had about 14 cats there and she was happy to offer to sell the kittens, which was the pretext we used to get onto the property.
“She called the cats by name, so they were clearly her animals.
“We had received information that several cats were unwell. One of the animals had cat flu, in my opinion, which is extremely dangerous and can be fatal.
“I would say that if you have a 10-year ban for the mistreatment and neglect of horses to the point that 11 of them had to be put down, any animal in her possession is in great danger.
“At the time of her conviction, Carl Larsson (RSPCA deputy chief inspector) described the case as the most horrific he had had to deal with in his whole career. I’m of the opinion that it is an utter disgrace that this ban is not being enforced.”
She said Harvey’s Army had reported the breach of the ban to the RSPCA, but they had received no information from them following this.
A neighbour who lives on Jubilee Road, who did not want to be named, said she too was aware of the numerous cats roaming on Mr Haworth’s property.
An RSPCA spokesman said: “Unfortunately, we are unable to discuss complaints about specific people and what action may have been taken due to data protection laws. We understand how frustrating that is for animals lovers but releasing information could prejudice a future prosecution or could lead to us being fined.
“The public are our eyes and ears and we are so grateful to people who report their concerns to us. We would like to reassure people that we will always look into and, if necessary, investigate any complaints made to us about animal welfare.”
Joan said: “I would encourage all animal lovers to ring the RSPCA and contact Gordon Marsden (MP for Blackpool South) demanding action to enforce the ban.”
11 HORSES SEIZED AND PUT DOWN BY RSPCA
Carmel Wilde, prosecuting for the RSPCA at Ms Haworth’s court case in July, said that the charity’s inspectors had found the horses living in dilapidated stables.
Their bedding was covered in months of urine and droppings, the court heard.
Ms Wilde said: “The evidence shows the conditions were horrendous. Six animals were such an appalling condition they had to be put to sleep by the vet immediately.
“Five more were euthanized later. Others have behaviour problems and will never be ridden as they are dangerous.
“These were the worst conditions the vets and RSPCA inspectors have ever seen. Basics tasks were not carried out for a prolonged time. It was neglect.”
Some of the horses’ hooves were so overgrown the animals could hardly move, and there was evidence that some had not been out of their stables for some time.
Some 31 horses in total were seized from The Sycamores.
Ms Haworth denied causing unnecessary suffering to the horses by failing to give them hoof and dental care. She also denied failing to keep the animals in a suitable hygienic environment.
RSPCA deputy chief inspector Carl Larsson said: “It was the most horrific case I have ever had to deal with in my whole career. Just the sheer number of animals it involved and the level of pain and suffering, it was quite sickening.”
STABLES OWNER 'RAN AT MEN WITH PITCHFORK' WHEN THEY TRIED TO TAG HER
Haworth ran at two men with a pitchfork when they arrived to fit an electronic tag on her leg.
The tag was needed to monitor a court ordered curfew on 58-year-old Nicola Haworth when she was convicted of one of the UK biggest ever equine cruelty cases.
District Judge Jim Clarke issued the ban on keeping animals and gave her a six month curfew and ordered her to pay £4000 costs.
However the electronic tagging device which was due to monitor her curfew at her home and stables on Jubilee Lane, has never been fitted.
Monitoring company staff have refused to return there after the pitchfork incident.
Judge Clarke returned to Blackpool Magistrates’ Court after Haworth failed to turn up for the fifth time to answer a charge of failing to comply with his court order by refusing consent for the monitoring equipment to be installed.
The original hearing was told the RSPCA had run up a £42,000 livery bill on keeping the rescued horses.
The judge heard that tagging firm EMS had visited Haworth twice and failed to accomplish their task.
He revoked his original curfew order and imposed another one.
He ordered EMS should go back to Haworth after first contacting her in advance by phone. If required they could have a police escort.
The judge said that the tagging issue had been made more complicated after EMS first went round at 11 pm.
He added:”The involvement of a meddling neighbour of Nicola Haworth has not helped at all.She involved herself in these proceedings and has made unacceptable applications on behalf of Nicola Haworth.
“However I also find the pitchfork incident entirely inappropriate.”
HAWORTH SAYS: "MY TRIAL WAS UNFAIR"
In a statement, Ms Haworth said: “One should remember that there are two sides to every story, but due to severe and enduring health problems only one side was heard at court.
“Unfortunately, the RSPCA are not regulated or accountable to any body for their actions. This has caused a miscarriage of justice, not only for myself but crucially for the horses that were killed at the behest of the RSPCA.
“The RSPCA prides itself on “treating” alleged abuses, but this is highly selective, it appears.
“Their poster picture for their recent annual report was a pony whose hooves were far more overgrown than those in the photographs of my horses.
“This lack of compassion by the RSPCA and their attending veterinary surgeon led to deaths of six of my horses that could have been avoided. Horse numbers were already being reduced, in the light of ongoing health problems, but World Horse Welfare had visited two months prior and would not offer any practical assistance.
"The P in RSPCA is for prevent, not prosecute. The RSPCA should be using their donations as a safety net for people in trouble, for the sake of the animals. I believe that suffering is caused when people do not have anybody to turn to for help and fear prosecution, letting small problems build.
“My trial was unfair, and an appeal has been prepared for the High Court. As my appeal is on legal issues it is not appropriate to expand on them further, but all the information here is from personal knowledge and documents served on me, prior to the trial.”