Norfolk charity workers in horse rescue

Animal welfare officers launched a bid to rescue more than 80 neglected horses found in a field with more than 30 other dead animals.

Animal welfare officers launched a bid to rescue more than 80 neglected horses found in a field with more than 30 other dead animals.

The RSPCA found 31 dead horses, ponies and donkeys when they were called to the site in Amersham, Buckinghamshire, at the weekend.

Two Norfolk horse charities were yesterday helping to rescue the 84 neglected horses.

The RSPCA has been leading the rescue mission, helped by the International League for the Protection of Horses (ILPH), which is based at Snetterton, and Redwings Horse Sanctuary, whose head-quarters and horse hospital is at Hapton, near Long Stratton.

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Fourteen live animals were removed immediately and three more had to be put down because they were in such poor condition

More horses were on their way to sanctuary at the Redwings reception centre.

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More than 30 staff and eight horseboxes and trailers from Redwings were involved in collecting the animals yesterday.

A spokesman for Redwings said it was still uncertain how many horses they would be looking after, but that the charity would be providing care, rehabilitation and homes to some of them. She said Redwings had been overwhelmed with support from the public throughout yesterday.

She said: “Our expert team have travelled to rescues on many occasions but rarely sees cruelty so far advanced that equines are seemingly forgotten and literally left to die.

“All organisations involved in this rescue were deeply concerned about the welfare of the remaining and surviving horses, ponies and donkeys.

“Redwings are hopeful that a prosecution of the owner will follow for both the deceased equines and those surviving that were considered to be in an unacceptable condition, but it is too early to comment on this in full.”

A spokesman for the RSPCA said that it was likely that the charity would seek a prosecution of the horses' owner.

The British Horse Society expressed horror at the scale of the cruelty.

BHS welfare senior executive Lee Hackett said: “The horse welfare community is deeply shocked by the extent of what has happened in Buckinghamshire.

“We wholeheartedly condemn any mistreatment of horses and ponies.”

Thames Valley Police have arrested a 44-year-old man on suspicion of assaulting a police officer and criminal damage.

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