Twenty-six horses, many in urgent need of veterinary attention, have been rescued from a future of suffering in a joint operation by police, vets and equine charities.

Hampshire Constabulary, World Horse Welfare, the RSPCA and Redwings came together to take action in Highclere, Hampshire, on 12 October.

Police had obtained a search warrant after concerns were raised about the horses’ welfare.

“It has been really distressing to see these vulnerable horses abandoned in this way,” said World Horse Welfare field officer Sarah Smith. “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.”

None of the equines was microchipped so it is difficult to prove who was responsible for their condition. The RSPCA is now appealing for anyone with any relevant information to call the charity on 0300 1238018.

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

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

Redwings field officer Julie Harding backed the RSPCA’s appeal for information.

“This rescue is another great example of effective partnership working, but 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,” she added.



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

An RSPCA spokesman said the charity had seen an “enormous increase” in the number of horses to whom it is being called: the 979 it took in last year was a 55% increase on 2015.

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