Primary school teacher filmed ‘punching horse’ suspended amid ongoing RSPCA probe

Woman appears to hit and kick at a horse

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Sarah Moulds, a 37-year-old primary school teacher from Leicestershire, caused public outrage after the video was circulated on the internet. She is said to have gone into hiding after receiving online abuse and death threats, with a friend saying “she fears for her life”.

The teacher, who was filmed at a fox hunt by an anti-hunting group, teaches at Somerby Primary School in Leicestershire.

She is also a director of Knossington & Somerby Pre-School.

Mowbray Education Trust, which owns Somerby Primary School, said: “We can confirm that a member of staff has been suspended pending a formal investigation into an incident that occurred at the weekend.

“We will not be making any further comment while the investigation is in progress.”

The RSPCA, who described the clip as “really upsetting”, have said they will look into the incident.

A spokesperson said: “We will always look into complaints made to us about animal welfare.

“We would urge anyone with first-hand information about this incident to contact us.”

Leicestershire Police also confirmed to the Mirror they would “assist” the RSPCA investigation if needed.

“We have been made aware of a video on social media in relation to a report of animal cruelty,” a spokesperson for the force said.

“The RSPCA is leading on this investigation and Leicestershire Police will assist and support the investigation as required”, they added.

Speaking about Ms Moulds to the Sun Online, a resident in her village near Melton Mowbray said: “She’s had to go away after receiving death threats and loads of vile abuse.

“It’s awful and has got very much out of hand. She fears for her life.

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“She has young children and she is worried about them as well as herself.

“She’s well known and respected in equestrian circles and her social media was bombarded with comments from very angry people after the video went viral and she’s now had to close it down.”

The 37-year-old has also been removed from her position at the Pony Club, where she was a team organiser.

The group “wholeheartedly condemned” Ms Mould’s actions, saying: “We are aware of the video circulating showing unacceptable treatment of a pony and we wholeheartedly condemn this behaviour.”

“The welfare of horses and ponies is of the utmost importance to The Pony Club, therefore the lady in question has been removed from her voluntary position as a team organiser for a branch.”

The video was filmed by the Hertfordshire Hunt Saboteurs last weekend and took place at the Cottesmore Hunt, in Rutland, East Midlands.

In the video, a woman in a navy jacket and cream trousers – who has since been identified as Ms Mould – is seen grabbing a white horse by the reins and kicking it in the chest.

She then repeatedly slaps and punches the horse in the face before dragging it back to the trailer.

A spokesperson for the hunt said they do not condone her behaviour “under any circumstances”.

Wildlife expert ad naturalist Chris Packham urged the RSPCA to “urgently investigate and definitively prosecute this appalling abuse”.

Meanwhile, Megan McCubbin, Zoologist and BBC Springwatch presenter said the video showed “yet another ugly side of an activity some call ‘sport'”.

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