The RSPCA is appealing for help as the charity investigates after 59 horses were abandoned in a small village in Hampshire.
The desperate plea comes after eight more horses were rescued in Highclere after Hampshire Constabulary Country Watch team obtained and executed a search warrant on Thursday, 18 January after concerns were raised about the welfare of the horses.
The latest rescue comes after 26 horses were seized in one go from fields in the village back in October – with a total of 59 rescued from the same area over recent months after vets confirmed they were suffering, or their needs not being met.
Unfortunately none of the horses seized have microchips so the charity is encouraging anyone who knows more to get in touch.
RSPCA Inspector Jan Edwards said: “It’s been heartbreaking to see so many horses in desperate need and we are very grateful to the police, vets, and other charities who have worked together to help these horses.
“In total 59 horses have been rescued and they are now getting the care and rehabilitation they deserve.
“We will always investigate cases of animal welfare reported to us, and do all we can to protect and secure the welfare of the animals involved, but we rely on the public to be our eyes and ears in these situations.
“We can only investigate when we have information and evidence about who may have abandoned an animal so we are urging anyone who has any information about these horses to call us on 0300 123 8018, in complete confidence.”
Sergeant Andrew Williams, from Hampshire Constabulary Country Watch, added: “The Hampshire Police Country Watch team obtained a warrant under the Animal Welfare Act following the discovery of the horses in poor condition in a field near Highclere.
“Whilst we are pleased to work in conjunction with the RSPCA and World Horse Welfare to give these horses a better life, the priority remains in finding those responsible for allowing them to get in this condition. Unfortunately, no horse had a mark or microchip that can assist in identifying the owners but enquiries are continuing with ourselves and the RSPCA to try and identify those that left them there.”
The RSPCA has also recently launched a fundraising plea to give horse-lovers an opportunity to help tackle the ongoing equine crisis.
The charity has seen an enormous increase in the number of horses coming into its care – with almost three a day being rescued.
There are currently more than 850 horses, donkeys and ponies being cared for by the RSPCA who have launched a a stable sponsorship scheme to help care for rescued equines until they are ready for rehoming.
Chief Inspector Kerry Gabriel added: “For several years now we as a charity have been picking up the pieces of the equine crisis, with our inspectors being called out to sick, injured, neglected or cruelly treated horses every single day. And despite our best efforts the crisis is not getting any better.
“For many of the horses, being rescued is just the beginning of a long road to recovery, and it can take many months for us to rehabilitate them to a point where they can be rehomed.
“The time and work during those months is absolutely essential but extremely costly, and we now find ourselves with over 850 horses in our care, so we desperately need the public’s help.
“Those who rehome a horse from us are doing something very special but for those who aren’t in a position to do so, this new scheme provides a unique opportunity to make a huge difference too.”
The impact of the recession, over breeding, the high costs of vet bills and falling prices for horses have all contributed to the crisis, which has also seen a distressing number of horses dumped dead and dying like rubbish.
The poor state of the horses coming into RSPCA care means that the cost and length of their rehabilitation is increasing and as a charity, the welfare organisation is urgently calling for the support of horse lovers to help provide equine centres with everything from bedding to feed and hay, grooming brushes, rugs and of course veterinary treatment for those who are rescued from the most appalling conditions by RSPCA inspectors.
To sign find out more about stable, please call 0300 123 0346 or visit www.rspca.org.uk/stables