A horse stranded in a flooded field in Northumberland is thought to have died after rescue missions failed.
A team of RSPCA officers tried to rescue the coloured horse near Ovingham on Saturday (5 December) after they were called by a member of the public.
“Unfortunately the rescue had to be called off for safety reasons because the strength of the flood water was so strong,” said a RSPCA spokesman.
“The fire and rescue service had also tried unsuccessfully to rescue the horse, before they were called to respond to civilian emergencies.”
The spokesman added that the fire service had previously rescued a member of the public who was found clinging to a tree after he had tried to reach the horse before being swept away by the floodwater.
A RSPCA inspector returned to the field this morning (Monday 7 December) at first light, but the horse could not be seen.
Local press reported today that the horse had died.
The RSPCA spokesman said that their flood teams were “desperately saddened” by the news.
The charity urges owners of animals in flood-risk areas to move them to higher ground or other areas of safety and not to put their own or another person’s life in danger to attempt an animal rescue.
Between Friday (4 December) and Monday (7 December), the RSPCA received calls about 77 flooding incidents.
The RSPCA has issued the following advice for horse owners:
- Plan your escape route
- Ensure you can be contacted in an emergency: keep phone numbers of people who can help move your animals
- Ensure any extra gates you need for emergency access are fitted and attach your details to field gates
- Act early if there is a flood warning
- Livestock and horses will need to be moved to high ground early
- Make sure you have emergency feed and fresh water supplies
- If flooding strikes and you have not already moved your horses, then take them to high ground if the escape route is accessible
- Read the list in full here
Useful numbers and websites
RSPCA 0300 1234999