The RSPCA has revealed concern about the increasing number of horses who have been neglected and ‘dumped to die’ in Kent this winter.
In what it describes as an 'equine crisis', the animal welfare charity said it has received a spate of calls about distressing equine incidents in the county in the past few months.
Officers have described "heartbreaking scenes" after finding horses - dead or dying - left in terrible conditions by the side of roads, in woodland and sometimes dumped under fly-tipped debris as if they were rubbish.
Of the 38 incidents they have been called to, 13 horses were found already dead, and 25 were collapsed and dying - six in such a poorly state that nothing could be done to save them and 19 able to be rescued, cared for and treated.
I have been called out again and again to horses who are either already dead - or they are so neglected and unwell it is just too late to save them.
The issue is particularly noticeable between November and spring because of winter-related problems like the lack of grazing and redworm and cold weather pushing animals who are already ill over the edge.
These issues should be easily treatable, but instead of being given the care they need, the horses are just being neglected and then dumped to die.
Horses can be very expensive to keep and we believe some people decide to callously abandon their poorly horses instead of pay for veterinary treatment. We urge owners who are struggling to care for their horses are urged to contact the RSPCA or other horse welfare charities for advice and assistance rather than dump their animals in a dying state.”
The RSPCA is urging anyone who has information about people dumping and neglecting horses to call them on 0300 1234 999, in complete confidence.
WARNING Readers may find the following picture and details distressing:
- A dead horse found dumped in Bull Hill, Horton Kirby, Dartford, on Tuesday, 21 February
- The bodies of two horses found dumped on Beech Road, Kingshill in West Malling on Friday, 17 February - one a year-old dark Bay mare with white socks, wrapped in a blue horse rug in woodland
- A dead horse was tied to a tree by the church in Lamberhurst, Tunbridge Wells on Friday, 17 February
- Six dying horses found in the Dartford area on Thursday, 16 February. As this is an ongoing investigation, the RSPCA cannot provide further details.
- A skewbald mare and her foal were found dumped in Wouldham Road, Rochester on Thursday, 16 February in an extremely poorly state. Both were emaciated and weak. The filly is still in RSPCA care, but sadly the mare died a few days later.
- A piebald horse was found dead and dumped on the side of the road in Eglantine, Horton Kirby on Tuesday, 14 February
- A young piebald pony was found collapsed and dying in Yalding, Maidstone on 28 January. She was so unwell she could not be saved and had to be put to sleep to end her suffering.
- The body of a horse dumped underneath a pile of planks in a field in Horton Kirby, Dartford of wood on 2 January - next to a can of petrol container. We assume that the intention may have been to set the body on fire (pictured). A few days later six more horses were rescued from the same location - all still in RSPCA care.
- The body of the dead pony was dumped on a woodland path is the Wateringbury, Maidstone, in the first week of January
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A dog from Horsham in Sussex is fast becoming an internet star. Bridie the Red Setter's Christmas video with the RSPCA has already been watched around 200,000 times - yet 18 months ago she was discovered in the cruelest of conditions.
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A Kent man has been fined £7,970 after carrying out a 'brutal' attack on swans.
David Thompson of Snarsgate, Romney Marsh, appeared at Canterbury Magistrates’ Court facing allegations of intentionally killing and/or injuring mute swans, contrary to the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.
He previously pleaded guilty to the offences.
The RSPCA and the police were called on 23 April after a coastguard helicopter crew flying near Lydd airport on a training exercise reported seeing the man hit several swans repeatedly with a “long blue pole”. They managed to capture part of the attack on video.
Officers attended the scene and found two injured swans and one dead - all with blood around their heads. The second swan died before arriving at the vets, but the third was treated and cared for at the RSPCA’s Mallydams Wildlife Centre, and eventually made a good recovery.
The swans were in his field of rapeseed and the man’s reason for killing them was that they were eating his crops.
There is no doubt these poor swans would have suffered - they were bashed about the head brutally and repeatedly. It would not have been a quick death.
The witnesses said they saw the man hit several swans with a long blue stick. They also saw him strike another swan, yanking him by the neck several times, and throwing the bird forward twice before lifting him by the left wing and dumping him in a ditch.
When we arrived one of the swans was already dead, and a second barely alive - just raising his head weakly. It was so sad. Thankfully there was a happy ending for a third swan, who was treated by a vet and nursed back to health.
Five puppies have been dumped in a cage in Oxfordshire. The animals, were eight weeks old and four have now died.
They were discovered abandoned in the middle of a field in Idbury in Chipping Norton. by a dog walker. They had no food or water.
The surviving puppy has been named Barney and is being cared for by the RSPCA.
The RSPCA is asking for help from the public after a cat was shot in the back at Eastleigh in Hampshire. The owner thinks someone objected to Slim Shady being in a garden.
Slim Shady was found at her home in Kipling Road on the evening of Tuesday, 4 October with blood on her back
The three-year-old was taken straight to the vet whose X-ray revealed that there was a 1.71 calibre pellet, probably from an air pistol, lodged next to her spine and an enlarged kidney. She has now had an operation and is set to make a full recovery.
RSPCA inspector Penny Baker said: “Slim Shady was lucky to survive - the shot missed her spine by mere millimetres. This bullet went into her back, and then grazed her kidney. Whoever shot her must have done so deliberately - taking aim.
Owner Dawn Morgan, 33, said: "We didn't realise what had happened at first to our Slim Shady. She had blood coming from the wound on her back, but it didn't occur to me that she had been shot until the X-ray showed the pellet and the enlarged kidney."
It would be more at home in the Caribbean, but a huge seabird has been found washed up on the Sussex coast.
It's the first time a Red-footed Booby has ever been seen in this country.
The bird was on its last legs when an animal lover came to its rescue.
Now, the Booby is being nursed back to health, ready to be flown thousands of miles home.
Malcolm Shaw spoke to Richard Thompson of RSPCA Mallydams Wood, and Gail Cohen who found the bird.