A woman who cruelly starved her horses for months has been banned from keeping the animals for two years.
Susan Gale left three horses in her care malnourished and desperately in need of veterinary attention. One of the animals was so thin all of his bones were visible and another was infested with lice.
Yesterday, the 56-year-old was also ordered to carry out 90 hours of unpaid work in the community after Aberdeen Sheriff Court heard she had failed to adequately care for the animals.
Scottish SPCA investigators found the stallion, and two mares in a horrific condition at a farm near Gale’s home in Alford.
Senior inspector Alison Simpson said yesterday she was shocked to find the animals emaciated and severely malnourished.
She said: “When I arrived at Gale’s premises, the first horse I saw was a five-year-old coloured stallion named Oddie and I was immediately concerned for his welfare.
“He was extremely thin, with all bones visible, and he had a body score of just 0.5 out of five.
“The second horse, a 10 to 12-year-old black mare named May, was also very underweight with a body score of 0.5.
“She had little co-ordination of her back legs due to a severe form of ataxia, which is a neurological disorder affecting balance, and she was suffering from a lice infestation.
“A third horse, an eight-year-old bay mare named April, was also thin, with a body score of one out of five.”
There were no medical issues identified to explain the poor body conditions of the horses, therefore it was clear this was due to a chronic lack of feed over a period of a few months, she added.
Both mares continued to suffer from heart murmurs after being rescued from the farm where they were found.
Sadly six months after being taken into Scottish SPCA care one of the mares – April – had a heart attack and had to be put down.
May was also put down as the heart murmur was badly affecting her quality of life.
The stallion Oddie made a miraculous recovery from the ordeal and the horse is now fit and healthy in the care of new owners.
At a court appearance earlier this year, Gale, of 22 Tillyfour Court, Alford, admitted failing to provide adequate nutrition and veterinary attention for her three horses.
The offences took place between November 1, 2012, and April 9, 2013.