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Council highlights plight of tethered horses

Gateshead Council acts over growing problem of tethered horses left without care and shelter in South Tyneside

The RSPCA has welcomed a move by Gateshead Council, South Tyneside, to impound horses which have been left tethered on its land.

The council says the practice has become a growing problem in the last few years with an estimated 200 horses tethered at any one time. It says the public are unable to use open spaces and playing fields where the horses are left.

Warning signs have already been attached to the tethers, giving owners around two weeks before the horses are impounded.

RSPCA inspector for Gateshead, Tony Jackman, says he’s delighted.

“Tethering is not against the law, but the horses are left indefinitely in conditions with no water and no shelter. The move by the council is solving the problem, although in a round about way.”

The reason for tethering horses is unclear.

“It’s not travellers who are doing this. Most of the horses are owned by people living permanently in the area. They don’t do anything with the horses – the animals spend their lives on the end of a chain.

“The only reason I can think of is that it might be some sort of a status symbol.”

The council has taken the steps after a number of incidents. Council spokesman, Ian Lynn, said: “Some horses have bitten or kicked children, some have escaped and caused accidentson the road. One man even phoned up to say a horse was in his kitchen.”

The council has appointed a specialist contractor to remove the horses after the warning period is up. The horses will be stabled, given a veterinary inspection and any necessary treatment.

If the horses are not claimed in a month, they will be sold on. If they are claimed, owners will have to pay the livery and vet bills.

  • To read about the Fettercairn Youth Horse Project, which aids the welfare of horses roaming Dublin’s streets click here.
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