Diss man jailed after admitting animal cruelty offences

Marilyn and Norma Jean after their ordeal. ANL-140808-142123001
Marilyn and Norma Jean after their ordeal. ANL-140808-142123001

A Diss man has been jailed for eight weeks and disqualified from keeping horses for ten years yesterday after previously pleading guilty to cruelty to two of his horses.

Mandro Jones, 24, of Ensign Way, was sentenced at Norwich Magistrates’ Court in connection with offences under the Animal Welfare Act relating to two bay cob mares named Marilyn and Baby, both of them pregnant He had pleaded guilty to the offences on July 16.

Redwings Horse Sanctuary, the RSPCA and officers from Norfolk Police were called to an address in Lower Rose Lane in Diss in February where the two horses were found in an appalling condition.

They were being kept in a barn with no food or water surrounded by rubbish including rusty tins and broken glass, and were so thirsty they were licking the moisture from the ground outside.

Both had lice and worm burdens, and were extremely emaciated. A vet gave Marilyn a body score of 1.5 out of 5, and Baby 0.5 out of 5.

The police seized the horses and they were placed in the care of Redwings Horse Sanctuary.

Marilyn had to be put down at a later date on vet’s advice due to severe and irreversible liver damage found to have been caused by being exposed to ragwort before her rescue, but Baby remains in their care along with Marilyn’s foal Norma Jean. Baby’s foal did not survive.

Both horses will now have a secure future, living either at a Redwings centre across the country or through the Redwings rehoming scheme.

RSPCA inspector Jason Finch said: “It was so sad to see these horses in this state.

“They just had not been given even the most basic care - and were being kept in an environment full of hazards with no food or water. I have never seen an animal so thirsty that they had to lick moisture from damp concrete before. It was shocking.

“Baby was so thin and exhausted that she was struggling to move around and actually lay down while we were there because she was so weak. I am very pleased that this strong sentence sends out a clear message that this kind of extreme neglect will not be tolerated by the courts.”

Redwings welfare vet Roxane Kirton, who authorised their removal, said: “The lack of regard for providing even the horses’ basic needs, including food and water, was heart-breaking.”

“They were desperately thirsty and so hungry. When we brought them back to Redwings we also discovered that both mares had chronic liver damage due to ragwort toxicity, which should never have been allowed to happen. Tragically in Marilyn’s case this meant she sadly had to be euthanased on humane grounds, leaving her foal Norma Jean as an orphan.

“We are delighted that justice has been done for these poor horses, and thank you to the RSPCA and Norfolk Police for all their hard work in this case.”

Chief Inspector Stuart Armes, South Norfolk Policing Commander, said: “This is a positive outcome and the custodial sentence demonstrates this is a serious matter and one which the courts take very seriously.

“We will continue to work closely with partner agencies such as the RSPCA and Redwings to raise awareness of these issues and take action against owners where necessary.”