An animal charity worker has told how he found horses sharing a muddy field with the carcasses of dead horses.
Other horses living in buildings around the remote Slaidburn farmhouse were kept in “appalling” conditions, although their bodily condition was good.
Giving evidence on the second day of the trial of Rachelle Peel, Mr Peter Bartlett said he had attended at Brookhouse Green Farm, Slaidburn, after the Horses and Ponies Protection Association received information there was a dead horse in a field.
He saw seven living horses in a muddy field that he described as “bottomless”. Mr Bartlett set off to walk up the field but had to turn back after sinking up to his knees. He went up the side and when he reached higher ground discovered the carcasses of two horses, one with a rug on and the other without.
Mr Bartlett went back to the farm were he saw numerous other horses and several dogs. He was unable to get a mobile phone signal and drove back to Slaidburn to request assistance.
“We are a small charity dealing specifically with equines,” he told the court. “It was my view this was a matter beyond our limitations and the RSPCA may have been better able to cope.”
After summoning assistance Mr Bartlett returned to Brook House Farm and found a large bale of haylage had been put in the field close to where the carcasses of the dead animals were lying.
“It was so close the live animals were almost standing on the carcasses,” said Mr Bartlett. “I thought it had been placed to mask the view from the road.
Peel (56), of Brookhouse Green Farm, Dale Head, Slaidburn, has pleaded not guilty to 22 animal welfare related charges.
The case is proceeding.