Friday, 12 February 2016

Abandoned And Injured Stray Horses Rescued At Avonmouth

Two young horses are recovering at rescue charity, HorseWorld after being found straying in the road at Avonmouth.  They are the latest victims in a growing stray horse problem in the area.

The abandoned youngsters, now known as Pilgrim and Grace were found in Avonmouth, an industrial area of Bristol along the banks of the River Severn. Luckily, they were caught before causing a traffic collision. This area has, in recent years been a problem area for horse rescue charities as it is commonly used for fly-grazing, the act of grazing animals on land without the owner’s permission. It is believed that Pilgrim and Grace were dumped on industrial land there, unsuitable for livestock and therefore escaped into the road.

“We were called by B&W Equine Vets at 8pm on 19th January to say they had received a call about an injured mare and foal and the vets had agreed to take them overnight with the help of the RSPCA.” Said HorseWorld’s Equine Welfare Yard Manager, Sarah Hollister.

“The mare turned out in fact to be a two-year-old colt with multiple injuries most notably a deep wound to his elbow where he is believed to have fallen down on the road. There were also multiple older injuries to the neck and shoulder, each between three and six months old. One of the old wounds shows evidence that he had been tethered for long periods of time as the skin on his neck shows a thickened ridge where a collar would lie. The young filly accompanying him is believed to be about seven or eight months old. She was uninjured but very frightened and obviously has never been handled.  Both were average weight but looked potbellied, indicating a heavy worm burden.  Neither horse was micro-chipped making finding an owner and prosecution near impossible despite the law stating that all horses over six months of age must be micro-chipped and passported..

HorseWorld’s Managing Director, Mark Owen said  “The issue of fly-grazed and abandoned horses in Avonmouth is on-going. The vast majority of horses we are rescuing come from this environment. Just last week we were called to another in that area, a five-month-old foal (Joey) stuck in the mud in war-horse-like conditions, led in a muddy trench, barely alive. We have also rescued Twiglet, found emaciated with a fractured back and neck and straying in the road in the middle of the night.  Not long before that we picked up Jack, a young colt used for harness racing and left for dead in the road once he’d collapsed from exhaustion.

“All of these horses I’ve mentioned have been rescued in the last few months and are now safe at HorseWorld. These are the lucky ones and will hopefully make a full recovery but many don’t. Many are not found until it’s too late. We cannot cope with a problem of this scale, we are fighting a losing battle. We are now full to capacity and the problem does not appear to be improving. The recent weather conditions have meant that the grazing has become sparse and the horses are breaking out in search of food.

“The amendments to the Control of Horses Act that became law last year mean that local authorities and land owners have the power to do something about the issue of fly-grazing. Previously, owners of fly-grazed horses had to be given 14 days’ notice to remove them. This has now been shortened to  96 hours. Many land owners do not realise that when a horse is on their land, the animal is the responsibility of the land owner. If that horse escapes and causes an accident, the land owner could be liable for damages. With the number of horses currently escaping onto the roads from fly-grazed land on a regular basis, it is only a matter of time before there is a serious road accident involving both human and equine casualties or even fatalities. We are currently putting together a campaign to see the law tightened up on this matter. Anyone interested in following progress can keep up to date on the HorseWorld Trust Facebook page."

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