RSPCA investigate dead horse found dumped in Darwen
8:00am Friday 6th December 2013 in News
A STARVED horse was found dead on a track strung up by its legs and neck. Animal welfare inspectors fear the horse may have been dumped and left to die in the freezing winter temperatures.
Community leaders have branded the incident ‘distressing and disgraceful’ and said those responsible are ‘despicable’.
The RSPCA said the extremely emaciated animal had been deliberately dumped with a blue rope around its neck. They are investigating whether it was left at the side of the road to die, strangled, or dumped after it was already dead.
The incident comes as Briercliffe-based horse rescue charity, HAPPA, said the UK was on the verge of an ‘equine crisis’ as welfare groups struggled to cope with growing number of unwanted animals.
A spokeswoman said horses were being sold for as little as £5, but owners weren’t prepared for the high cost of looking after them.
There had also been a growing number of ‘fly grazing’ incidents in the county, in which animals are left to graze on private land without permission.
Lancashire police made the grim discovery in Long Hey Lane, Pickup Bank, near Darwen, on Wednesday morning. They contacted the RSPCA who have now taken over the case.
Inspector Kat Hamblin of the RSPCA said: “We found a piebald cob filly, which is a black and white female horse, in the ditch. “We are really keen to find out what happened to this filly.
“She was extremely emaciated and had a blue rope, around 20 metres long, tied very tightly around her neck.
“It’s unclear if someone has strangled her or if she has been dragged there to die or if someone used the rope to pull her body off a wagon because they wanted to avoid the charge for disposal.
“Either way, it is a very troubling case and we want to find out exactly what happened here. “It is just so sad.”
The RSPCA have released photographs of the horse, two of which the Lancashire Telegraph have published with the charity’s support.
Inspector Hamblin said: “I think it is very important that people see the photographs, as upsetting as it might be, as it is very important that we highlight the cruelty that is being imposed on horses and the increased number of horses cases that we have to deal with.
“Horses are pretty cheap to come by but expensive to keep and people often feel they cannot cope with the costs.”
The RSPCA is now appealing for anyone who noticed suspicious activity in the Pickup Bank area on Tuesday evening or Wednesday morning.
They also want to hear from anyone who has lost a horse matching the description to get in touch with them.
Inspector Hamblin said: “She may have gone unnoticed as she was absolutely covered in mud and you couldn’t see any of her white fur showing through but we are really eager to hear from anyone who saw anything at all.”
Julie Slater, ward councillor for the area said: “I think this is absolutely disgusting. “Whoever has done this is just despicable.
“This is quite a rural area of town and all my constituents are real horse lovers. I can’t see any local farmer treating an animal this way.
“I hope whoever has done it is prosecuted and I want to stress the importance of people coming forward if they saw anything suspicious.
“Not only is this a very cruel way to treat an animal but the removal of it is a cost to the tax payer and we will be able to prosecute the perpetrator, if caught, for both for flytipping and for animal cruelty.
Blackburn with Darwen borough council attended the scene and removed the horse.
Councillor Jim Smith, executive member for environment, said: “The dead horse was removed after liaising with both the police and RSPCA in the reporting and removal of this poor animal, in what is a distressing and disgraceful incident.”
“It beggars belief that anyone could be so callous in treating an animal in this way, and we hope the relevant authorities find those responsible.”
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