RSPCA saves over 100 horses

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In 2008, the RSPCA were responsible for rescuing over 100 animals including horses, donkeys and ponies from a farm in Buckinghamshire in one of the biggest rescue operations ever in. In a court ruling yesterday, the owner has been banned for owning animals for life and is facing a 26 week jail term.

Concerns were raised when more than 30 equines were found dead at the farm. The confiscated animals have been in the care of the RSPCA ever since they were taken from the farm in 2008 – costing the charity more than £1million.

Yesterday Aylesbury Crown Court, Judge Christopher Tyrer made the announcement that the animals would not returned to their previous owner. Under the Animal Welfare Act, the judge sentenced five members of the same family who had unsuccessfully appealed against convictions. Farm’s owner James Gray, was given a 26-week jail term in his absence after he absconded from the court and was also banned from keeping equines for life. His wife Julie and children Jodie, Cordelia and James junior were all given seven-year bans by Judge Tyrer. The judge also ruled the animals “will go into the possession of a person nominated by the RSPCA”.

The court heard the prosecution has cost the RSPCA a total of £43,230.51. A separate hearing dealing with the case costs will take place at a later date.

RSPCA Inspector Kirsty Hampden, who was one of the first people to visit Spindles Farm following complaints said, “It was absolutely correct. The judge had a good grasp of the case. A lot of evidence has been heard and we are really pleased they came to the conclusion they did.It’s been hard work, not just for myself but for the RSPCA and other charities. We had 78 witnesses so it was a real team effort.The horses can be re-homed as of today, which is fantastic. They are completely different to how we picked them up. Some are unrecognisable.”

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