Twenty-six horses now in care in abandonment case in England

The 26 horses are now getting the care they need.
The 26 horses are now getting the care they need.

Twenty-six horses are now in the care of British charities in what is being treated as a case of abandonment.

The animals were seized in Highclere, in Hampshire, with one welfare inspector saying they were without water or forage.

None of the horses were microchipped, making it difficult to identify who was responsible for the animals’ care.

Charities have launched a public appeal in the hopes they can identify who owned them or was responsible for their care.

Police in Hampshire obtained and executed a search warrant on October 12 after concerns were raised about the welfare of the horses.

RSPCA inspectors worked alongside the Hampshire Constabulary County Watch officers, World Horse Welfare, Redwings Horse Sanctuary and equine vets to remove the horses.

“These horses had to be removed after a vet sadly confirmed they were all either suffering unnecessarily or their needs were not being met,” the RSPCA’s operational superintendent, Lee Hopgood, said.

“We also urge people to seriously think about the commitment involved in caring for horses as this sadly happens far too often.

“The RSPCA and other equine welfare charities have been picking up the pieces of the ongoing horse crisis for many years, rescuing sick and injured horses who have been left without appropriate care.”

From foals suffering neglect to older horses cruelly treated or abandoned, the RSPCA has seen an enormous increase in the number of horses taken in, with 979 horses rescued in 2016 – a 55 percent increase on the year before.

World Horse Welfare field officer Sarah Smith said it was distressing to see vulnerable horses abandoned in this way.

“Many of them were in need of urgent veterinary treatment to prevent further deterioration in their condition. It was a very sad situation but a superb team effort from all the charities working together to ensure the horses got the treatment and care they so desperately needed.”

Julie Harding, a senior field officer with Redwings, said the rescue was a great example of horse charities working together.

“However this is also sadly another example of an owner not taking responsibility for or meeting the needs of their horses – indeed in this case choosing to abandon them without water or forage.

“As a result many of the horses were in very poor condition, which was very upsetting to see. We hope the RSPCA are successful in their appeal and urge anyone with information to come forward.”

The RSPCA is keen to hear from anyone who has any information regarding the horses. It urges them to contact the RSPCA through its inspector appeal line on 0300 123 8018.

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