When called by distressed members of the public to report sightings of a horse strapped down to a flat-bed trailer, and being towed along motorways, RSPCA officers leapt into action.
A number of calls were made to the charity’s cruelty line last Tuesday (14 February) by those who had spotted the black horse – rugged up against the cold and wearing a mask but without a haynet for the journey – being driven some 100 miles from Birmingham to Cambridge.
The horse’s four legs were tied to the corners of the trailer, while straps over its body held it in place, along with a wooden breast bar.
But when RSPCA inspector Richard Lythgoe heard about the circumstances, he thought something sounded odd – and when he arrived on the scene, he laughed out loud. Because the horse was made of plastic.
“The information that was coming in was mainly from drivers who saw the horse tied up by its legs on top of a trailer,” Mr Lythgoe said.
“Obviously when driving and catching a glimpse of this life-size, lifelike horse being pulled down the motorway it would have been very worrying – so thankfully it was just a fake one!
“When I got to the house to look into it all I realised it was a life-size plastic horse. The couple had driven all the way to Birmingham to collect it and because it was so big needed a trailer to get it back to Cambridge.
“We do get lots of calls about horses through to our hotline – but I have never been called out to check up on a fake one before!”