Equine rescue boss Ann Sim sentenced for animal suffering

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Image copyright RSPCA
Image caption Some of the ponies were emaciated and had overgrown hooves

A woman who ran an equine rescue centre has been convicted of causing unnecessary suffering to animals.

Ann Sim, from Ilfracombe, received a 10 week suspended jail sentence and has been banned from keeping horses for 10 years, Exeter Magistrates' Court heard.

Some of the ponies were emaciated, had overgrown hooves and were living in filthy stables.

She admitted three charges of causing unnecessary suffering at the rescue centre at Runsom, near Barnstaple.

District Judge Jo Matson said the rescue centre "should have been a place of safety for these ponies".

She said some of the 26 horses were neglected and being kept in fields with insufficient nutrition and wire fences that could endanger the animals.

Image copyright RSPCA
Image caption The court heard some of the horses were being kept in filthy stables

The horses had been suffering for a few months, even after the RSPCA had given Sim a warning and some advice in March 2019.

Defence barrister Herc Ashworth said the 35-year-old set up the rescue centre to "help abandoned horses back to health" and had "no intention of causing suffering".

"I accept it was not a deliberate act on your behalf," the judge added.

Image copyright RSPCA
Image caption All the animals have since been rehomed

The mother of three's sentence was suspended for 12 months and she was ordered to pay £322 costs.

All the animals have since been rehomed.