The bodies of a mare and newborn foal have been found dumped alongside fly-tipped rubbish near a busy arterial route in South Yorkshire.
Local residents took to social media to report their “horror” at the discovery at a roundabout on the edge of Goldthorpe on Wednesday (10 Jan).
Kevin Osborne, a parish councillor for neighbouring Little Houghton, said the area was a blackspot for fly-tipping but that this incident “went way beyond”, demonstrating an entire “lack of duty of care”.
“I was told about it on Wednesday night and went up myself to check the next morning and it stopped me in my tracks,” he said.
“The borough council have done a lot of work cutting back the hedgerows and bushes to try and stop rubbish being dumped and the area was clearly visible, you can see it from the main arterial road from Doncaster to Barnsley. There was a warning sign up right next to the horse saying ‘fly tippers we’re watching you’.”
Mr Osborne said that while he was “no horse expert”, the mare and foal looked to have died during or shortly after birth.
“The horse had strapping round it, indicating its body had been lifted,” he added, also noting that there were clusters of “similar looking horses” all around the area.
“My personal view is if someone is not prepared to look after an animal during birth or afterwards then they are not fit to own one. I think the vast majority of people have expressed shock and horror about it,” he said.
He added that while it was “not nice” sharing the images on social media, he hoped doing so might spur action on checking that local horses were registered and recorded.
“I hope some good comes of it,” he said.
In a statement on Twitter on Thursday (11 Jan), Barnsley Council thanked the public for their posts “about the very sad and upsetting incident in Goldthorpe”.
“The horses have now been removed and any information will be passed to the RSPCA” it said.
A spokesman for the RSPCA confirmed the incident had been reported to the charity.
“We did receive a call about this distressing discovery, and the caller was advised to contact the local authority and given both their details and those of DEFRA,” she said.
“The removal of dead animals is the responsibility of the landowner, and where that doesn’t take place that may be an issue for animal health. We would only be involved if there was evidence that the animals in question had been neglected or suffered.
“In this particular case, based on the information given by the caller to our cruelty and advice line, it would seem that the horse and her foal died during birth.
The young mare was found by a road covered in mud, having died in the early stages of labour
The two-year-old mare was found by the roadside, so malnourished she was unable to give birth
“We do find that people can be reluctant to call knackermen to dispose of bodies as they charge horse owners a fee to do so, so we do get a lot of calls about this kind of thing.
“Horses are often dumped in out of the way places to avoid having to pay this bill, and it doesn’t always mean that something untoward has happened to them.”
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