A LIFETIME ban on keeping horses remains in place for a woman sentenced for four offences of animal cruelty.

Toni Veitch, 42, appealed against her ban and sentence at York Crown Court.

Jonathan Boumphrey, for the RSPCA, told Judge Shaun Spencer QC and two magistrates the charity had been forced to put down a 12-year-old bay gelding called Flame, cared for by Veitch in February 2012. The animal was malnourished and part of its body was badly inflamed.

In May 2012, a police officer warned Veitch that an eight-year-old gelding called Fizz had problems with its feet that caused it pain when walking and gave her a week to have it tended to.

When he returned a week later, the horse was still in pain with overgrown hooves and deeply embedded dirt and stones and he called in the RSPCA.

Veitch, of Briggs Lane, Camblesforth, pleaded guilty to four offences on the day of her trial. York magistrates gave her a ten-week prison sentence suspended for 12 months on condition she did 12 months’ supervision, a ten-week nightly curfew and a rehabilitation programme.

They also banned her from keeping horses for life with the provision she could apply for the ban to be lifted after 20 years.

Through her barrister Rachael Landin, she told the magistrates court she had worked as a veterinary nurse.

But at her appeal hearing, her barrister said: “She never had any formal qualifications. She has done what she considered appropriate.”

She could care appropriately for horses. But she had had difficulties persuading vets to attend her property because they were concerned that she could not afford to pay them, and at the time of the offences, had been suffering from a family bereavement and other domestic problems, and had had undiagnosed depression.

Her mental health was still not good.

The court received a letter from the probation service saying that Veitch did not need supervision or the rehabilitation course and the bench deleted those requirements. It also reduced the period she had to wait before applying for the ban to be lifted to seven years.

The rest of the sentence remained as the magistrates had ordered.