An animal rights campaigner is set to face trial after being accused of abusing pets. Sara Ross, 54, was assistant to Lord Houghton of Sowerby, the pioneer of the Animal Welfare Act, for over 15 years before she set up her own animal charities.
However she is now set to face a four week trial in June over allegations that she abused 36 animals including horses, dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, a turkey and exotic birds.
A District Judge ruled today that Ross will return to court on June 18. She is being prosecuted by the RSPCA for the alleged cruelty alongside colleague Hayley Poturici, 25.
Poturici faces seven charges relating to cruelty to the same animals that Ross is being prosecuted for. Alex Weller, defending, told District Judge Sophie Toms, sitting at East Berkshire Magistrates’ Court that previous cases of similar nature had run for longer than four weeks
He added that he was still involved in a trial in Bristol that started in 2016. Hazel Stevens, prosecuting on behalf of the RSPCA, was asked by District Judge Toms to provide summaries of interviews from Ms Ross, due to their lengthy nature. Ross first set up the now disbanded Horse Refuge in 1994 before opening the Animal Sanctuary at the current site in Dorney, Buckinghamshire, in June 2012. The registered charity has attracted support from celebrities including Simon Cowell, Leona Lewis, Katie Price and Joanna Lumley. The sanctuary mainly caters for horses but is also home to other animals – and is open to the public 365 days of the year.