Questions are being asked of the RSPCA after a chestnut mare that a charity rescued from a back garden in Hailsham had to be put down.
Both the RSPCA and Rainbow Bridge Equine Rescue were made aware there was a horse tied to the patio of a house in London Road, but at the time,its condition was healthy.
However, as the weeks passed, it started to rapidly lose weight and was noticed to be eating its own faeces in order to avoid starving to death.
Rainbow Bridge stepped in and took the horse, which they named Maisie, into their care. However, despite their best efforts, it was obvious her suffering was too much to bear and she was put to sleep.
A statement from the RSPCA said, “We shared concerns about her welfare and are very sorry to hear the upsetting news that she has died. The conditions in which she was kept were not ideal, but she was being fed, given fresh water and there was grazing available.
“We made regular visits to check on her welfare since concerns were first raised to us.
“We visited the site at the end of April after being told she was underweight but the horse was covered in a rug and we were unable to lawfully gain access to the property to check properly.
“We returned shortly afterwards to try again, but found the horse had already been removed. It is illegal for us to enter private property without permission. The RSPCA has to work within the law at all times and can only remove animals if the law allows us .
“The country is currently in the grip of a horse crisis with the RSPCA and other horse welfare charities struggling to cope with the numbers of abandoned, neglected and abused horses. We are stretched to breaking point with about 125 places at our equine centres but more than 800 horses in our care. We are also calling for better enforcement of legislation surrounding identification so we can trace the owners of neglected or mistreated horses.”
For information about Rainbow Bridge, visit www. rainbowbridgeequinerescue.org