Horses are expensive animals to keep, and this is presumably why they are often found dumped in fields and other public places, frequently in a bad, neglected condition.
Just lately, over the last month, there has been a spate of horses being abandoned and left to die in the UK, in Northern England. According to news reports, there have been at least four horses in separate incidents in Nottinghamshire who were found dumped in rural areas, and one of them has since died.
One poor young filly, named Brave Valentine by rescuers, was thrown out of a trailer onto the road - a bystander saw the perpetrator driving off at great speed, and called for help, but she sadly died within a day of being rescued.
Another horse was found dead in the area, and two live foals also found abandoned with a radius of 30 km of the first incident. Police believe that the incidents may be linked, i.e. that the same truck and trailer were used in both, and they are trying to trace the owner of the vehicle.
The two foals, who have been named Bubble and Squeak, are now recovering at the center run by the charity Help for Horses.
Janice Dixon, a veterinarian who works for Help for Horses, was called out to treat the first horse Brave Valentine in the Notts area, in the village of Bidworth, and said that the horse was in such bad condition, she was like a skeleton. The next day she died of stomach problems.
The vet commented that the horse had obviously been ill for some time which is why she must have been dumped so callously. The cruel owner realized the horse was terminally ill and did not want to pay to have the animal disposed of in a professional manner, which would have cost between £150-£250.
It is a tragic situation for these unfortunate creatures. It is not an uncommon problem, however, in the UK there have been major changes to the law which took effect in 2015, which have made it easier for the public and parties such as local authorities and private landowners to act speedily to protect the welfare of horses.
An issue related to abandonment is that of fly-grazing, i.e. where owners let their horses graze on a patch of land without prior permission, and it is often hard to tell if they have just been left. Where the land is privately owned, it is illegal. If horses are being fly-grazed on someone’s land, The Control of Horses Act 2015 gives the landowner the power to remove the animals, take them to a place of safety, and alert the authorities, who will then contact the owner.