The RPSCA is warning of a “horse crisis” in Kent following a spate of calls regarding horses across the county during the past two months.
Since 15 November, the charity’s officers have attended 21 equine-related call outs involving 25 horses who were either dead, dying or in poor condition.
Nine of these had to be put down, 14 were dead on arrival and only two have survived and are recovering.
“These horses appear to have been transported in vans or pick-up trucks to quiet locations where they are callously dumped, some while they are only just still alive, which is quite simply barbaric,” said inspector Caroline Doe.
“These horses have been dumped in driveways, fields, on private and public land with complete disregard for both the animals and the public.
“We are seeing a spate of dumped horses in the county at the moment, which is extremely shocking and distressing and needs to stop.”
Last year the RSPCA received calls about 98 dead horses in Kent compared to 68 in 2014.
“This is pushing our inspectors to their limits and putting a strain on resources,” added inspector Doe.
“We are asking the public to remember that we have finite resources and must always act within the law.”
The charity has already had more than 300 calls from concerned members of the public about horses in Kent since the start of 2016.
Under the Animal Welfare Act 2006, anyone found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering to an animal could face a maximum six-month prison sentence and/or a £20,000 fine.
A spokesman for the charity said that they believe the two main reasons for the ongoing crisis are the recession and overbreeding.
“Owners who are struggling to care for their horses are urged to contact the RSPCA or other horse welfare charities for advice and assistance rather than dump their animals in a dying state,” he added.
The charity is also urging the public to be vigilant and report any animal welfare concerns to them on 0300 1234 999.