By Harry Leach.
DEFENDANT Annette Nally broke down in tears while giving evidence and admitted to neglecting her horses, of which she is charged.
The Solihull woman, asked by barrister Hazel Stevens, prosecuting, if she had neglected her horses, replied with “yes.”
District Judge Ian Strongman shook his head as he said: “So you’re admitting neglect?”
Nally, 49, told Redditch Magistrates Court that she had lost control of her yard – but maintained she still did her best and ‘always’ provided the horses with food and water.
She allegedly damaged her ribs three weeks prior to the RSPCA and police turning up at her Stoke Prior yard on July 14, 2018, limiting her ability to look after the animals.
“It was killing me and it was all too much,” she said, “I had help from my volunteer but he only attended the yard twice during the three weeks.”
Nally said she felt unfairly treated as RSPCA welfare manager Gareth Johnson, had ‘off-loaded’ too many wild horses, some without ‘passports’, and already in bad condition, at her yard on Astwood Lane.
When questioned about the dead horse in her locked barn Nally said: “It was still standing and alive before I left for Devon in the early morning – I can only say what I saw.”
Barrister Ms Stevens, who continued to push Nally, said: “Then why did the post-mortem show the horse had died of starvation?
“Do you accept it would be impossible for the horse to be standing up that morning, and that it might have been dead in the corner already during your visit?”
Nally then admitted the horse – which had been in her care since late 2017 – ‘might’ have already been dead.
The court was also told Nally had allegedly sent Facebook messages, telling others in the horse industry that a horse in question was ‘in perfect condition’ and if anything, ‘too fat’.
Nally later admitted on the stand that the horse was not ‘too fat’, and was indeed emaciated – but at no time had she asked any vet to perform euthanasia.
A vet allegedly visited Nally’s yard to look at an ill horse, previous to July 14, but Nally couldn’t provide any written documents to prove his or her attendance.
Judge Strongman said: “So the vet looked at the animal, gave you advice, and didn’t leave you any notes?”
Nally, of Parkwood Lane, Solihull, has always maintained she was in the process of leaving her Stoke Prior yard due to constant flooding and its poor conditions.
While looking to move them to another site, Nally said she left the horses with enough water via ICP water tanks.
“The tanks provided water for a week,” she said.
Today the court will hear from witness Gareth Johnson and also the end of barrister Ms Stevens’ questions before the jury retires, expected to be today.