ALLOTMENT holders have hit out at an animal charity over concerns for three horses they believe are being neglected.
Gardeners at East View allotments in Boldon contacted the RSPCA, after discovering the animals on one of the plots.
For the past three months, allotment holders have been leaving hay for the horses, after thinking they were being neglected and were not being fed or watered.
They also contacted the RSPCA, but were told the animal charity was powerless to act while the horses were being fed and watered.
One allotment holder, who didn’t want to be named, said: “We told the RSPCA the horses were being neglected and that people were feeding them.
“They came out and told us to stop feeding them, left a letter and said they would be back in a few days to take them away.
“We did as we were told, but when they came back they didn’t take the horses.
“Obviously, we all started to feed them again as we don’t want them to starve to death – how can we?
“It’s as if the RSPCA want these animals to suffer before they will do anything.
“Some people have even offered to buy the horses, just so they can look after them.”
The RSPCA said while it appreciates the public helping animals they believe are being neglected, it leaves the charity unable to prove they are being failed by their owners.
A spokeswoman added: “We have had a number of calls about this, and have been to the location with a vet who has found that, at that time, there wasn’t sufficient grounds to have these horses taken into possession by police.
“This can only happen on vet’s advice, where they consider the animal to be suffering or its needs not being met, contrary with the Animal Welfare Act.
“Our inspector issued advice to the owner of the horses – who doesn’t own the plot which the horses are on – which has been acted upon.
“Since then, it has been left in the hands of the local authority, who are the allotment owners.”
A spokesman for South Tyneside Council said: “We are in regular contact with the RSPCA about the horses and their officers have attended the site to check on the horses’ welfare.
“The tethering or grazing of animals is not permitted on this plot, and we have contacted the owner of the horses to order that they be removed.”
*THE North East has been named as the worst in the North of England for horse neglect, according to the RSPCA.
Equine officer for the North of England, Cathy Hyde, said: “We seem to be seeing more and more dead and dying horses dumped off the back of trailers in secluded areas, their owners unwilling or unable to pay for veterinary treatment or a ‘knackerman’ to dispose of their body.
“Irresponsible owners and traders can’t care for or sell the stock they already have but continue to breed. When those animals suffer or their needs aren’t met organisations like the RSPCA are left to pick up the pieces.”
The RSPCA is currently training a number of officers to become equine specialists to help deal with the number of horse cases.
A special section on the charity’s website has been set up dedicated to horses the charity are trying to get rehomed. If anyone can offer a hours a permanent home visit www.rspca.org.uk/allaboutanimals/horses/rehoming/ownership