A VET has revealed that staff at a rescue centre run by a Burton woman accused of more than 30 charges of causing unnecessary suffering to animals were ‘utterly unco-operative’ when visited by RSPCA officers and the police.
David Martin, director of Brownlow Veterinary Group, joined officers to visit the centre, owned by Lindsay Newell, in November 2012, Stafford Magistrates’ Court heard.
He said the people at Burton Wildlife and Rescue Centre, in Etwall, at the time had been ‘utterly unco-operative’, adding that most animal owners would have ‘tripped over themselves’ to provide information.
Describing what he saw on the day, he said a female goat could not even stand up and a pig was ‘undoubtedly emaciated’. He said many of the animals should have received veterinary assistance.
He also spoke of a Canada goose that had to be put down after being found lame due to an injury to its left leg.
A buzzard was also unable to fly.
Mr Martin told district judge David Taylor: “The buzzard tried to fly and crashed repeatedly causing it to cartwheel across its pen.
“It had a fracture to its left wing that had not been treated and healed badly.
“It must have been taken into captivity fairly shortly after it broke its wing as it wouldn’t have been able to survive in the wild.”
He also said that four piglets had been put in accommodation that was ‘completely inappropriate’ for them despite there being other sheds at the centre.
Mr Martin was questioned by the prosecution and defence in the case for more than three hours.
Nigel Weller, defending, suggested that three horses were not emaciated or poor as detailed in Mr Martin’s report and questioned the definition of suffering when it comes to animals.
He also suggested the horses may have had small red worm. However, Mr Martin said it would have been unlikely at that time of year.
The vet told Mr Weller: “Your client had the opportunity to give an account and explain where she got the horses from but has never been forthcoming.”
Mr Martin also said there was no hay for the horses or any sign that hay had been there.
A system of nought to five is used to measure how thin a horse is. Mr Martin gave two of the horses 0.5, with nought being emaciated. He said: “A score of 0.5 is a seriously underweight horse.”
He also said that a lamb was at the ‘last chance saloon’ and should have been treated straight away.