New fears over horses’ welfare
Calls are being made to improve living conditions for a herd of horses in Ashford.
Concern for the horses in the field opposite the John Lewis at Home shop were raised last month when they escaped and ran into a busy road.
The RSPCA was called and found that fence panels were missing and that their environment was less than ideal.
Shopper Pat King said she also feared for the animal’s welfare when she spotted them after leav- ing the shop, in Fougeres Way, with a friend last week.
Mrs King, from near Dover, said: “What concerns me is that the land is very scrubby and it doesn’t look as if there’s much, if any, pasture for the horses to graze on.
“I couldn’t see any feed in the field and it was impossible to know if there was any water.
“There were two very young foals in the field, one only looked a couple of days old.
“Another brown and white horse looked very thin; you could see its ribs.
“The horses were all just standing around, not grazing or anything.”
It is not known who owns the land or horses, but there are around 14 in the field.
Mrs King added: “I’ve often thought that fields with livestock in should carry the landowner or farmer’s contact details on the gate or fence.
“That way you’d know who to contact with concerns. Maybe this is something the RSPCA should look into.”
RSPCA spokeswoman Katya Mira said: “The RSPCA was called about concerns about the foals in Fougeres Way, Ashford in July after they escaped, and went to check on them.
“The environment was not ideal, and there were some issues with missing fencing, but in general the horses were in good condition and had plenty of grazing.
“We were working together with the police on this issue and understand they have managed to speak with the owners and ask them to improve the fencing.
“We will continue to monitor the horses in this area and make sure they are all right, and urge anyone with any concerns to call us and let us know on 0300 1234 999. The RSPCA has to act within the law and cannot remove an animal without the permission or the owner, or the support of a vet or a police officer.
“We, and other horse welfare charities, have made no secret of the fact that the UK is experiencing a horse crisis.
“In fact, we warned about it more than two years ago and urged the government to do all it could to help.”
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