Animal abuser Sean McWhinnie received a lifetime ban on keeping all animals (with a 10-year period before he can apply for that to be lifted) and a five-month prison sentence – suspended for 21 months – at Southampton Crown Court today after a shocking 1½ hour-long attack on a foal was caught on CCTV. Six-month old skewbald foal, Faith, was beaten in her stable by Mr McWhinnie, while the distressed animal’s owner looked on unconcerned. Unbeknown to the abusers, the whole incident was caught on the yard’s CCTV camera.
Ever since, little Faith has been recovering at World Horse Welfare’s Glenda Spooner Rescue and Rehoming Centre in Somerset. The welfare charity’s Field Officer Penny Baker visited the yard near Romsey, Hampshire where Faith was kept after the yard owner reported a welfare concern.
Penny Baker said:
“We welcome the lifetime ban on keeping all animals, however we are very disappointed that the prison term for this abhorrent offence was suspended because in our opinion this very young foal suffered terribly at the hands of Sean McWhinnie and the deliberate attack that he subjected her to. I feel, I’m sure along with the rest of this nation’s animal lovers, that this was worthy of a prison term with immediate effect.
“When I first got to the yard Faith – who was a just-weaned very young foal – was in a real state. She was very distressed, and when I tried to enter her stable, in self-defence she put her ears flat back, turned her bum towards me and tried to kick – that filly was terrified.”
Penny’s visit was in November 2021, when she also saw the CCTV coverage showing the sustained 1½ hour attack and beating of the foal in the stable by Mr McWhinnie, whilst the foal’s owner and another woman sat outside in full view of what was going on inside the stable.
Police, vets and RSPCA all agreed that an offence had been committed and Penny was able to arrange for World Horse Welfare to take Faith into their care. The court has already agreed to a 10-year ban on keeping equines for the foal’s owner, Sean’s sister Maxine McWhinnie, for permitting the beating.
Now two, Faith is growing into a pretty pony. Penny said:
“It’s taken 18 months for her case to reach conclusion which is not an unusual length of time for prosecutions, and during that time Faith has been slowly recovering with the expert care of our teams at Glenda Spooner Farm. Her physical scars quickly healed, but her mental scars may never completely go, this kind of experience is likely to leave a mark on her for the rest of her life. We thank all of our supporters and donors whose direct help goes towards supporting horses and ponies like Faith.”
The costs of caring for and treating Faith since she was seized back in November 2021 have been borne by World Horse Welfare and the ultimate aim for the young horse will be to rehome her when she is ready. World Horse Welfare retains ownership of every horse or pony that comes into its care for the rest of their lives, meaning there is no danger of them once again becoming welfare cases.
As all horses remain in the ownership of the charity, it means that rehomers have the reassurance that if their circumstances change, the rehomed horse can always be returned. World Horse Welfare’s four Rescue and Rehoming Centres are Glenda Spooner Farm in Somerset, Belwade Farm in Aberdeenshire, Hall Farm in Norfolk and Penny Farm in Lancashire. World Horse Welfare’s rehoming website sets out the rehoming process clearly and makes applications straightforward.