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By Beth Sharp Thursday 27 March 2014 Updated: 28/03 09:02
A WOMAN has been ordered to pay more than £10,000 and been banned from keeping animals for a decade after she was found guilty of charges relating to animal cruelty.
Liza Squires, of Dunnington near Alcester, was sentenced at Redditch Magistrates' Court on Wednesday (March 26) after being convicted of six out of 13 charges brought forward by the RSPCA.
The 38-year-old was found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering to a chestnut mare Shetland type pony in Bromsgrove between April 1 and April 29, 2013, by failing to explore and address the cause of the animal's weight loss.
Squires was also sentenced for five counts of neglecting ponies, pigs and chickens in Bromsgrove on April 29 last year, for failing to provide continuous access to a clean supply of fresh water and for not ensuring her poultry were in a suitable environment. But she was cleared of three counts of causing unnecessary suffering to an animal and found not guilty of four charges of failing to ensure an animal's welfare.
When RSPCA inspectors visited the site last year they found four dead animals, which included a pony, a sheep, a goose and a pig. Officers also found a pony and a sheep which were found collapsed and emaciated. There was also no water on the site.
The defence said Squires committed the offences during a time when she had been suffering with depression as her daughter, who had a serious medical condition, was having open heart surgery. When she took care of the animals in 2010 they had already been in a bad condition and if they had been in any worse of a state they would have not survived. It was argued it was not a case of intentional neglect but Squires, who was of previous good character, had taken on too much and had let her heart rule her head.
District Judge Nigel Cadbury handed the mother of two a two-year community order, requiring her to complete 200 hours unpaid work and ordered her to pay £10,000 in court costs and a £60 victim surcharge.
Squires was also handed a deprivation order which meant her three ponies would be found new homes.
Judge Cadbury said she would not be able to appeal against the disqualification order for at least six years.
He said Squires came very close to a custodial sentence and warned her that if she breached the ban she would most likely face prison.
RSPCA inspector Suzanna Smith said: "It has been very long and complicated with all the animals being kept in boarding throughout the case, costing the RSPCA significant amounts. This is a prime example of people taking on too many animals when they do not have the time or money to support them."
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