Woman jailed for 20 weeks for causing unnecessary suffering to horses in Bardney - petsitterbank

Woman jailed for 20 weeks for causing unnecessary suffering to horses in Bardney

Davina Leedham has been convicted of two counts of causing unnecessary suffering to a total of 13 horses. Photo: RSPCA

Davina Leedham, of no fixed abode, was convicted of two counts of causing unnecessary suffering to a total of 13 horses following a prosecution by the RSPCA, and was sentenced at Lincoln Magistrates’ Court.

At a trial – heard in her absence in July last year – Leedham failed to explore and address the poor condition of 12 equines, and caused unnecessary suffering to a 13th horse – a Chestnut Gelding – by failing to seek appropriate professional veterinary care to address an infected wound to his leg.

She was also found guilty of a further count of failing to meet the needs of two horses.

Davina Leedham has been convicted of two counts of causing unnecessary suffering to a total of 13 horses. Photo: RSPCA

RSPCA inspectors, a vet and officers from Bransby Horses had attended a location in Branston Fen, Bardney in July 2019, following concerns raised by the police, who were in the area dealing with an unrelated matter.

At the location, they discovered a large number of horses, with many in poor body condition, many kept in outside areas with little to no grass available in any of the enclosures and no shelter.

Inside a barn were three penned areas, housing two ponies and a horse.

Upon entering the barn, the first small enclosure housed a chestnut pony which was in poor bodily condition, with the equine’s spine and pelvis clearly visible and hooves overgrown.

Davina Leedham has been convicted of two counts of causing unnecessary suffering to a total of 13 horses. Photo: RSPCA

The pen was very small and was constructed from a combination of metal gates and wooden pallets, measuring approximately eight feet by eight feet.

Further into the barn was a slightly larger enclosure, with fencing approximately 6-7 feet high, giving the pen the appearance of a cage, where a bay-coloured horse was found in poor bodily condition with ribs, spine and pelvis clearly visible.

This horse stood in the same position throughout, weaving their head from side to side and their hooves were also overgrown.

One horse had a wound on their right quarter and this should have been attended and treated.

Davina Leedham has been convicted of two counts of causing unnecessary suffering to a total of 13 horses. Photo: RSPCA

Sadly one colt was in discomfort and pain due to persistent lameness, and an independent vet advised he should be put to sleep on welfare grounds and to prevent him suffering further.

An arrest warrant without bail was issued following the trial and she was arrested by the police last month and held in custody before being sentenced via video link.

In mitigation, the defendant said that she had failed to attend the trial as her mother had been ill and that the horse with the wound to their leg had been under vet treatment.

She was sentenced to 20 weeks immediate custody, banned from keeping all animals for 10 years and ordered to pay £500 costs.

Davina Leedham has been convicted of two counts of causing unnecessary suffering to a total of 13 horses. Photo: RSPCA

Speaking after the case, RSPCA inspector Kate Burris said: “The conditions which these horses had been kept in were unacceptable and so many of them were in such poor bodily condition with their ribs visible and overgrown hooves – it was heartbreaking to see.

“We are so very grateful to Bransby Horses for taking on such a large number of horses and I am so pleased that they have all thrived since being in their care.”

Rachel Jenkinson, external welfare manager at Bransby Horses said: “Bransby Horses were able to provide the specialist care and attention these horses needed thanks to the fantastic support we receive from the public and we thank them unreservedly – ​​it doesn’t bear thinking what would have happened were it not for charities like us and the RSPCA.

“Following a long road to recovery 14 of the horses we took in that day have recovered well but the trauma they endured cannot be ignored.

“We would urge anyone who is struggling to care for their horses or who knows someone who is, to please call our Welfare Hotline on 01427 787 369. We are here to help and will do everything in our power to prevent a situation such as this happening again.

“Keeping horses is a responsibility that should not be taken lightly.”

Davina Leedham has been convicted of two counts of causing unnecessary suffering to a total of 13 horses. Photo: RSPCA
Davina Leedham has been convicted of two counts of causing unnecessary suffering to a total of 13 horses. Photo: RSPCA

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