HORSES and donkeys were left without water, in pain and to stray onto main roads by their owner, a court was told.

Mary Giblin, of St Peters Drive, in Martley, near Worcester, appeared at Worcester Magistrates Court on Monday, charged with nine offences relating to animal welfare between March and July of this year.

The 45-year-old pleaded guilty to the charges which related to the welfare of 10 horses and two donkeys on two fields in Broadwas and Alfrick.

The court was told the animals were not supplied with adequate water or veterinary care and were left to “fend for themselves” and to roam on to main roads.

Adrian Jones, prosecuting, said Giblin paid rent for the two sites and as part of the agreement was required to maintain the fencing which she failed to do.

Some of the fencing was low enough to step or jump over and there was no fencing at all along stretches of the A44 – a fast stretch of road with blind bends.

He also said gates were unsecured on the sites and officers were called several times to round-up the es-caped animals.

He said: “She confirmed the horses had been escaping and put this down to the thin hedges.

She said she was getting grief from local people and said farmers were taking fe-nces down and people were leaving gates open.”

The court was told veterinary surgeon David Denny was called out to put down one of the ponies but when he ar-rived the animal was al-ready dead.

“He was appalled by the conditions and had treated the animals before and said she did not have the facilities to care for the animals,” said Mr Jones.

On another occasion a me-mber of the public noted the horses’ tails were matted with diarrhoea and their hoofs were overgrown and split which meant they were struggling to walk.

During the hot summer months the horses were left without any water, said Mr Jones.

“One field had an auto-water filler but it was thick with algae and green and in the extreme temperatures it was vital to get water to the horses,” he said.

“They were left to fend for themselves in extreme temperatures.”

At the time Giblin was in Portsmouth and seemed “uninterested” in the horses’ well-being, said Mr Jones, although she did return a day earlier than planned.

Nick Roberts, in mitigation, said Giblin, who had now given up the horses and donkeys to a sanctuary, was disabled and confined to a wheelchair.

He said she had taken on the animals with her ex-partner and they had intended to provide horse and carriage rides and start up a charitable organisation, but the scheme ended.

“Once this ended she was driven out of their bungalow where she had lived for 13 years and lived in a caravan and at that point the horses were not going to be looked after properly,” he said.

She became aware he was not looking after the animals but Mr Roberts said because of her health she could not get around.

“She did her best, it wasn’t good enough and admits she wasn’t coping. It was on that basis she no longer owns the horses and donkeys.”

Chairman of the magistrates Julia Glossop said: “Had you been fit, the sentence would have been more harsh, and were you not on benefits, the fine more harsh.”

She fined Giblin a total of £650, and ordered her to pay £85 costs and a £20 victim surcharge. She was banned from owning horses or donkeys for at least 10 years.