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The RSPCA is appealing for witnesses after five dead horses were “dumped like rubbish” on the side of a road in Loughborough.

A member of the public discovered the horses on Rempstone Road, East Leake early in the morning on Tuesday 23 December. They rang the police who contacted the RSPCA.

Officers from the charity arrived just after 9am and arranged for the removal of the carcasses with the local council.

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Inspector Clint Davies said: “This was a shocking discovery. Even in a nation of animal lovers, there are thousands of people out there who don’t care about their animals at all.

“In fact, some literally treat them like rubbish.

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The RSPCA is now appealing for anyone with information about what happened to the horses, or how they came to be dumped, to get in touch.

The RSPCA argue that this is part of a growing trend of equine abuse. Earlier this month (14 December) two horses that had been shot and set on fire were found in a woodland area in Suffolk.

RSPCA chief inspector Cathy Hyde, who heads a specialist team of equine officers, said: “Over the past five years there has been a marked and very worrying increase in equine neglect and abuse. This is witnessed on a daily basis by frontline staff.

“This disturbing trend in neglect seems to be affecting equines more than any other animal that we deal with.”

A spokesman from Redwings Horse Sanctuary also added concerns after the incident in Suffolk.

“As the value of horses has plummeted we have seen more and more situations where horses are dumped, abandoned or neglected. This is either because owners can no longer care for them or as they are considered of such little value that their owners don’t consider them worthy of a humane end,” she said.

“There are too many horses out there and not enough homes and it’s the poor horses at the bottom of the chain who suffer when things go wrong.”

Anyone with any information should contact the inspectorate appeal line on 0300 123 8018.