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A dead horse floated in the River Nene in Northamptonshire for more than a month while authorities squabbled over who was responsible for removing it.

The horse, which died on 16 November, was in the stretch of river between Wellingborough and Rushden until 21 December.

Disgusted local resident Susan Brown told H&H: “There are a number of coloured cobs grazing there — the dead horse must be one of them. They don’t look unhealthy, but they’re not very well fenced in.”

Defra, the RSPCA, police and the Environment Agency all denied responsibility for removing the horse, the owner could not be traced and the land is rented to tenants who have recently been asked to leave, a Northamptonshire County Council spokesman told H&H.

But the landowner was finally traced by the local authority and the body was removed five weeks later.

Equine vet Tim Watson said: “A dead horse in a river is very much a pollutant [due to] the sheer amount of rotting tissue.”

This news story was first published in Horse & Hound (30 December, 2010)