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Horse cruelty appeal fails

PUBLISHED: 16:00 13 May 2010 | UPDATED: 16:27 01 July 2010

A horse is assessed by World Horse Welfare staff in 2008

A horse is assessed by World Horse Welfare staff in 2008

The future of dozens of rescued horses being looked after by two Norfolk charities has been secured after their owner had his convictions and sentences for animal cruelty offences upheld.

The future of dozens of rescued horses being looked after by two Norfolk charities has been secured after their owner had his convictions and sentences for animal cruelty offences upheld.

Bosses from Redwings Horse Sanctuary, near Tasburgh, and World Horse Welfare, in Snetterton, said they looked forward to giving the 72 horses, ponies and donkeys in their care safe, loving homes following the conclusion of a £1.4m case the RSPCA claimed was the worst it had ever dealt with.

Horse trader James Gray, 46, and his family were convicted of neglecting more than 100 animals at Spindle Farm, near Amersham, Buckinghamshire, where 32 horses died.

RSPCA inspectors who searched the farm in January 2008 found many without food or dry bedding, crammed into pens and ankle deep in faeces. Some had simply been left to die where they fell.

Carcasses were also discovered in surrounding fields, some were burned on bonfires and bones were piled against on outbuilding.

Gray attended Aylesbury Crown Court yesterday to appeal against his 24 week prison sentence, having lost an appeal against his convictions last week.

But he absconded from court while the judge retired to deliberate and a warrant was issued for his arrest. His sentence was increased to 26 weeks in his absence.

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