A woman is appealing her sentence for animal cruelty charges.
A woman is appealing her sentence for animal cruelty charges.

Animal cruelty offender asks for more lenient sentence

UPDATE 5.57pm: A NORTHERN Rivers woman's appeal against her sentence for animal cruelty offences has been dismissed.

Leah Angela Braid, 50, sat silently in the dock of Lismore District Court for her appeal hearing today.

Braid's lawyer, Rod Behan, asked Judge Wells to consider a more lenient sentence.

Last August she was sentenced to partly-concurrent three-month prison terms for several charges relating to a failure to supply proper food and treatment to a horse and foal at her Bonalbo property.

She was also banned from owning animals for five years.

In her neglect, she was breaching a good behaviour bond which had been put in place just six months prior for the same kind of offences.

Along with the bond, she had been given a total in $6000 worth of fines for the earlier offences.

The court heard she had paid just $704 of this.

She had also been given a six-month good behaviour bond for phone calls in which she made death threats after the two horses were seized from her property last year.

Mr Behan told the court there was no malice in his client's offending, but an inability to properly care for the horses or arrange for their sale.

The court heard Braid suffered from alcohol abuse.

RSPCA in-house counsel Kathryn Jurd said in the 2018 offences, the foal had to be "literally picked up off the ground by the inspector", so severe was its state of emaciation.

Its mother was no longer producing milk.

Both horses were seized and treated and quickly gained substantial weight.

"The foal had significant injuries," Ms Jurd said.

Ms Jurd told the court Braid had not responded to active involvement with the RSPCA, including care directions, before the first set of cruelty charges were laid in 2016.

Between October and November 2016, Braid failed to show "any meaningful improvement" in the condition of the single horse subject to the earlier charges.

In seven weeks of RSPCA care, that horse showed a "remarkable" turnaround, gaining 119kg, Ms Jurd said.

The animals subject to the later charges also showed marked improvement after being seized, the court heard.

Judge Wells said a sentencing assessment report indicated Braid was "quite unco-operative" with authorities and she found a term of imprisonment was appropriate.

She upheld the Local Court Magistrate's sentence, backdated to February 22 this year when she was refused bail.
The sentence will expire on June 21.


Original story: A NORTHERN Rivers woman will today face an appeal hearing for her sentence over serious animal cruelty offences.

Leah Angela Braid, 50, of Bonalbo, was last year convicted of three counts of failing to provide proper and sufficient food to an animal and two counts of failing to provide vet treatment to an animal she was in charge of.

The charges were laid after the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals attended Braid's property to find a horse and foal, both severely malnourished.

Braid's solicitor, Rod Behan, has told Lismore District Court submissions are expected to span half an hour.

A representative of the RSPCA is present in court for the hearing.

Braid was sentenced before Casino Local Court to mostly-concurrent prison terms of three months in August.

The last of those sentences was due to expire on December 28.

But she was released on bail pending an appeal of that sentence.

At the time of the offences last year, she was already on a section 9 bond for previous animal cruelty offences.

The hearing is expected to proceed before Judge Wells later this morning.