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Horses 'starved themselves'

Gary Brennan, 58, and Linda Barbara Brennan, 56, from One Mile, have been found guilty of six counts of animal cruelty.
Gary Brennan, 58, and Linda Barbara Brennan, 56, from One Mile, have been found guilty of six counts of animal cruelty. File

AN IPSWICH couple has been found guilty of six counts of animal cruelty for starving and neglecting their pet horses and leaving them to perish in January's flood.

Gary Brennan, 58, and Linda Barbara Brennan, 56, have been sentenced to 12 months probation and banned from owning a horse for two years.

Ipswich Magistrates Court heard Mrs Brennan has two prior convictions of breach of duty of care of an animal and failure to comply with an animal welfare direction in June 2006.

Ipswich Magistrates Court heard that when the horses were seized from One Mile on January 14 they were emaciated, malnourished, dehydrated, distressed and riddled with parasites, and there were maggots in their skin infections. Two of the horses had to be euthanised.

The Brennans' defence claimed the horses "stopped eating" and started "sulking and starving themselves because they knew the floods were coming" a week before the deluge hit.

The court heard when neighbours came to help the couple and their animals evacuate, Mrs Brennan said: "Let the floods take them."

Magistrate Donna MacCallum said she was satisfied the Brennans had been "wilfully blind" to their horses' suffering, and it would have taken a minimum of three months for them to become so thin.

"It is improbable the condition of the mare deteriorated so quickly," Ms MacCallum said.

She said "every prosecution witness said the horses were in a poor state".

The Brennan's lack of remorse was also taken into account as both had pleaded not guilty.

Despite the prosecution calling for a five-year ban on owning horses, a two-year ban was imposed.

RSPCA Inspector Annabel Buchanan said it was important for people to realise that owning animals has responsibilities.

"Despite ... difficult financial circumstances, there is still a legal obligation to provide for animals in your care," she said.

Topics:  animal cruelty animals crime floods horses ipswich magistrates court


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