A WOMAN who was found guilty of animal cruelty charges after a number of horses were found in a badly-emaciated state in Stoke Prior is to appeal against her sentence.

Annette Nally, 50, was jailed for 26 weeks and banned from keeping animals for life after a trial at Redditch Magistrates Court last autumn.

However, Nally, from Pryor Road, Oldbury, is to contest that sentence and her appeal will be heard at Hereford Crown Court on March 20.

The Advertiser reported in September how Nally had been jailed for causing unnecessary suffering to horses, several of whom later had to be put down, at her Worcestershire yard.

She had previously been found guilty on four charges, three of causing unnecessary suffering and one of failing to take reasonable steps to care for an animal, in a case bought by the RSPCA.

Inspectors from the charity were called after members of the public - one of whom later described the scene as 'death row' - discovered 12 emaciated horses and one dead horse at the yard.

District Judge Ian Strongman described conditions in a barn at the yard as a "filthy stinking mess" and as he delivered his verdict said Nally had seen animals deteriorating in front of her and done nothing to stop it.

He added that RSPCA inspectors had been so traumatised by what they had seen at the yard they were unable to continue working on the investigation.

Nally, who denied all the charges, claimed the horses in her care had been unable to eat properly because the hot summer had caused grass in the fields not to grow.

She also denied the animals had been left without water and claimed three horses had been affected by a mystery illness which caused their faeces to become bright yellow.

The judge dismissed her explanation as "entirely bogus and untrue".

He said: "She has wasted the court's time for the last few days, there is no defence at all. I have never come across a case with less merit."

Nally, an experienced horsewoman, took in neglected and unwanted horses on behalf of the RSPCA and the Retraining of Racehorses (RoR) charity.

At the trial, the judge said that 'significant breach of trust' was 'an aggravating feature' of the case.