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More than 40 horses removed from flooded fields in major rescue mission

More than 40 horses have been rescued from flooded fields in a joint operation between charities, police and a local authority.

The RSPCA, World Horse Welfare, the British Horse Society, Bransby Horses, the Blue Cross, Redwings, Northamptonshire Police and Wellingborough Borough Council rounded up 43 horses from land off Irthlingborough Road, Wellingborough, yesterday (24 February).

Members of the public had reported concerns for the welfare of the horses, and attempts to find their owners had failed.

“The team, with the assistance of the RSPCA’s specialist water rescue and boat teams, battled the tough weather conditions and managed to coax all 43 horses across the flooded fields into makeshift pens in two stages,” said an RSPCA spokesman.

The rescued horses, a mixture of adults and youngsters, were given hay and water, and examined by a team of vets, “checking for any immediate medical concerns”.

Some of the equines were very thin, and they were not accustomed to being handled.

“They were loaded into transporters to be taken into the care of the RSPCA and World Horse Welfare,” the spokesman said. “Once they have been nursed back into good health they will be rehomed.”

The RSPCA had helped the owner of the land, on which it is understood some of the horses were being fly-grazed, seize the animals under the Control of Horses Act.

RSPCA chief inspector Jim Lucas, who led the operation, said: “I am very pleased that this has been such a successful operation thanks to the close working relationship with all partner organisations.

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“It was a difficult task as it is such a big site with lots of hazards such as a river, lake, flooded fields and a railway line going across the land, but the team came together really well and we were able to safely rescue 43 horses.

“None of the animals were microchipped so we are unable to identify and locate their owner to hold them responsible. But it is great that all the horses will now be cared for and then rehomed.”

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