UPDATED: Concern at ponies’ welfare

The number of horses dead from neglect in a Leighton field has increased to at least five.

An LBO reader got in touch last week to report a dead pony lying in the field off Grovebury Road.

RSPCA officials inspected the site as a vet attended the horses, who have been reported to look severely underfed and unkempt.

A number of the animals were found to be suffering from the parasite Cyathostomes (small redworm).

An RSPCA spokesman said: “Three horses very sadly died at the site as a result of this illness, and four others were removed by us after the vet said they needed urgent help.

“Very sadly, two had to be put to sleep at a later date as they were so unwell.

“We have attempted to contact their owners to improve the conditions they are being kept in and the care that they receive, but have as yet been unable to locate them.”

Nine horses remain at the site, and their condition is reportedly being monitored by the charity.

Passers-by have been shocked at the state of the field.

One woman who contacted the LBO said: “It breaks my heart every time I see them, I’ve reared horses all my life and they look so unhappy.

“There’s nothing in the field for them, there’s waste and rubbish about. I’ve thought of taking hay out to them.

“I can’t understand why the RSPCA are trying to trace the owner, they don’t care. It would be kinder to put the horses down.”

But the RSPCA spokesman said: “The RSPCA is a charity and has no more legal power than a member of the public and cannot remove an animal without the permission of the owner, or the support of a vet or a police officer.”

According to the charity, the UK is reportedly in a ‘horse crisis’ with up to 600 horses in its care and as many as 500 complaints about horses’ welfare received each week.