Farmer who kept horses and dogs in barns filled with 3ft of faeces is banned from owning animals

·3 min read
Farmer Christine Kelly kept more than 200 animals in squalid conditions. (swns)
Farmer Christine Kelly kept more than 200 animals in squalid conditions. (swns)

A farmer who kept more than 200 animals in squalid conditions with some standing on up to 3ft of faeces has been banned from owning animals.

Christine Kelly, 60, kept 131 horses and donkeys, 60 dogs, three alpacas, five goats, four chickens and one duck at her farm in Ripley, Surrey.

Inside two barns, many of the animals were left standing on top of waste and faeces built up over months, the RSPCA discovered after police raided the property on 9 January, 2019.

Dozens of dogs - some heavily pregnant and others with tiny puppies in tow - were found chained and tethered on the filthy yard, while others were shut inside tiny cramped cages or makeshift kennels.

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The conditions RPSCA inspectors found when they raided Christine Kelly's farm. (swns)
The conditions RPSCA inspectors found when they raided Christine Kelly's farm. (swns)
Inside two barns were pens full of donkeys, goats and ponies. (swns)
Inside two barns were pens full of donkeys, goats and ponies. (swns)

Earlier this month, a district judge found Kelly guilty of 15 offences, including five for failing to meet the needs of several animals at the farm and 10 for causing unnecessary suffering.

At Staines Magistrates’ Court on Thursday, Kelly was handed a 26-week prison sentence - suspended for 18 months - as well as being banned from keeping all animals for life.

Rescuers discovered horses, dogs and farm animals living in horrific conditions, with three being put down at the scene and 14 either dying or being euthanised after vets tried to treat them for their illnesses.

A total of 204 animals were discovered at the site, but two horses and one goat had to be put to sleep at the scene.

Charities took in the other 201 but 14 weak and emaciated horses either died or were put to sleep on vets' advice.

Some had serious worm infestations and were suffering from cyathostominosis - a lava that live in the stomach.

A further two dogs and one goat had to be put down and one chicken plus a duck also died.

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Some donkeys from Christine Kelly's farm and brought back to good health by The Donkey Sanctuary. (swns)
Some donkeys from Christine Kelly's farm and brought back to good health by The Donkey Sanctuary. (swns)

Kelly was found guilty of failing to meet the needs of 131 equines by failing to provide a suitable environment, a water supply, adequate nutrition, routine dental or farrier care, or adequate parasitic treatment or control and treatment for prevention of illness and disease.

She was also convicted of causing unnecessary suffering to a number of horses, dogs and goats.

She claimed throughout the investigation that she was not responsible for all the animals found on-site and only owned dogs and that she took care of six horses for her grandchildren.

Kelly was also handed a deprivation order relating to 12 dogs and seven horses, meaning the charities can now rehome them.

Bert the pony after he was rescued from Christine Kelly's farm and brought back to good health. (swns)
Bert the pony after he was rescued from Christine Kelly's farm and brought back to good health. (swns)
Limpopo the pony after he was rescued from Christine Kelly's farm. (swns)
Limpopo the pony after he was rescued from Christine Kelly's farm. (swns)

All other animals had previously been signed over for care by the charities or to be rehomed.

Limpopo was one of the rescued horses and was found scared and would try to run away from people, shaking with fear.

After 18 months of treatment, she was finally back to good health and slowly started to trust people before being matched with a family and is now enjoying a new home.

A total of 20 foals were later born in charity care - although two were stillborn - as well as six goat kids, one alpaca and nine puppies - although two died shortly after birth.

RSPCA Special Operations Unit case officer Kirsty Withnall, who coordinated the huge rescue mission and led the investigation, said: "I initially thought one of the ponies was dead. Both were very weak and thin and, sadly, had to be put to sleep on site.”