You may have read reports in the media that we are not contesting an appeal by a woman who was previously convicted of four welfare offences relating to dogs and horses.

We know this news may be disappointing for our supporters, the decision was not taken lightly however since the original trial, circumstances had changed and some of the witnesses in our case are no longer available to give evidence which meant we were unlikely to be able to contest the appeal successfully.

We would like to assure you that this case was brought with the best interests of the animals in mind and the district judge who heard the trial said our witnesses involved in the case “did what they could do to the best of their ability in a demanding and extreme situation”.

During the original trial we mistakenly made a claim for stabling fees. This was due to an administrative error which has been addressed to make sure it doesn’t happen again. We were never paid these stabling fees because as soon as we discovered the mistake we dropped our claim for costs.

Very sadly 12 of the horses involved in the case were put to sleep due to veterinary reasons or because they were assessed by equine experts who felt that due to their temperaments there was no a realistic likelihood of them being rehomed. At this time we already had hundreds of happy and healthy horses and ponies which we were struggling to find homes for due to the horse crisis.

Putting horses and ponies to sleep is the last thing anyone at the RSPCA wants to do, we are animal lovers like you.

Since this case our horse rehoming rates have dramatically risen thanks to the efforts of our specialist equine centre staff and rehoming officers who work closely with horse groups, equine media and breed societies to help us reach new potential owners.

At the same time the numbers of animals who are put to sleep due to a lack of a home has dropped. Last year less than 0.7% of animals put to sleep by the RSPCA were for non-veterinary, legal or behavioural reasons. We will keep working hard until no animal is put down for want of a loving home.