A Wellington resident noticed that someone had plaited his pony’s mane. The Wellington Police Department has warned the locals to look for this sign as it means the thieves are making those horses their targets. It is meant to save them time when they return with a vehicle to pick up the already identified horses. West Mercia Police officer Morris Brookes reveals having received report from the Wellington resident who noticed his pony’s mane being plaited and the department has come across similar reports in other regions. This is an indication that the horse thieves are covering a large area.
It is evident that horse thieves are using this method to mark a horse or pony which they wish to take away. At this point, the law enforcement authorities are unable to deliver specific information on the matter. However, they are asking the local horse owners to stay alert.
Sarah Lynch, a West Mercia Police staff states that they are yet to receive particular reports of stolen horses associated with a plaited mane; she appealed to horse owners to remain watchful. They are advised to make changes to their schedules and watch out for strangers on their yards or fields regularly. Moreover, they should observe the movements of strangers approaching close to their properties. Recognizing how an unfamiliar person looks may come in handy; finding a way to identify strangers is a good idea. Furthermore, ranchers should be aware of any changes in the behavior of their yard dogs. If possible, board fencing may be replaced with wire fencing.
Often horses that are not freeze branded are preferred by the thieves to visually identifiable ones. Furthermore, people can clearly read numbers irrespective of dealing with horses. So, marking manes to show that a certain horse is marked can be a good option for the equine master. Head collar is not a good option – if the rancher has trouble catching a horse then the thieves cannot catch it either. Horse owners need to make sure they have good quality photographs of their horses in case they need to assist the police in the event of a theft investigation. So, it’s a good idea to possess high resolution color photos of a horse including head and full body shots – of course, from both sides. Photographs of both summer and winter coats should be kept and any distinguishing marks are to be noted.
Meanwhile the number of roadside abandoned horses is rising at an alarming rate and rescue centers are struggling with them. Often the horses are found in terrible conditions. There's no doubt that these thefts can only be described as an act of cruelty. Many of the rescued horses need immediate veterinary attention. That is why equine charities and many philanthropic organizations have been asking the government to strengthen the law for the protection of horses.
Andy Robbins, spokesman for the RSPCA, said that they are encouraging people to microchip their animals. Stable owners and ranchers will be better off by permanently identifying their horses with tattoos, brands or microchips. This method easily proves ownership, helps recovering stolen horses and discourages thieves from stealing horses so identified.