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Aberdeenshire woman given five-year ban on keeping horses following SSPCA investigation

By Kyle Ritchie

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A woman who badly neglected a pony in her care has been given a five-year ban on keeping horses following a Scottish SPCA investigation.

Gail Vines (64) of Kinnear Square, Laurencekirk, pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering through failure to provide veterinary treatment or a suitable safe environment for her pony, Eve.

Vines was sentenced at Aberdeen Sheriff Court on Thursday, July 22.

Pony Eve was emaciated and her hip bones and spine were clearly protruding.
Pony Eve was emaciated and her hip bones and spine were clearly protruding.

Scottish SPCA inspector Fiona McKenzie said: “Vines is well known to the Scottish SPCA. We have had countless dealings with her and tried on several occasions to provide her with guidance and advice on how to care for her animals.

“We attended Sunnyside Farm in Drumoak on February 28 after a member of the public called our animal helpline with concerns about Vines’ ponies.

“On attending we noticed the field was in a state of disrepair with numerous hazards that the ponies could become injured by such as loose fence posts and electric fencing wire on the ground.

“It also immediately became apparent that one of the ponies, Eve, was in extremely poor condition. She was standing on her own by the hay ring feeder with her head hanging down.

"Eve was emaciated and her hip bones and spine were clearly protruding. She was so weak, she had no energy and was listless.

“Eve was also covered in lice and had skin lesions. She was suffering from severe diarrhoea, which was later found to be caused by a heavy worm burden.

“It would have taken some time for Eve to get into this condition and it would not have happened overnight. She is incredibly lucky that she was found when she was as had she not received treatment she would have died.

“We are pleased that Vines has been banned from keeping horses for five years and hope she will seriously consider her ability to look after any animal in future.

“I was absolutely shocked and disappointed by this case. Vines had received advice and assistance from the Scottish SPCA previous to this and should have prevented or recognised issues with her horses and addressed them.

“Eve was undoubtedly caused immense suffering over a period of several months. This suffering could have easily been avoided had the owner displayed good horsemanship.

Her lack of daily care and feeding, along with routine worming, is good practice known by responsible horse owners. Vines’ failure to adhere to Scottish SPCA advice shows total disregard for her animal’s health and wellbeing.

“Thankfully Eve is now doing well in the care of one of our animal rescue and rehoming centres and we hope she will soon be able to find the loving forever home she deserves.

“If anyone is concerned about an animal, they can contact our confidential animal helpline on 03000 999 999.”

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