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Dumped horses prompt call for stricter enforcement

by | 27 January 2017



A spate of horse dumpings are just the “tip of the iceberg” and the laws to stop them are not being enforced, a charity has claimed.

Janice Dixon, a vet from Help for Horses, said mandatory microchips were not being used and people were scared to report culprits.

She said she knew of seven cases in the past three months in the East Midlands.

The RSPCA said the country was experiencing a “horse crisis” and 70% of horses it attended were not chipped.

A dying horse was dumped along with other rubbish in Shirebrook, Derbyshire, in November, while a mare and two young horses were left at Little Eaton, also in Derbyshire, last week.

Other horses were recently reported found in Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire, Essex and Humberside.

A spokesman for the RSPCA said: “We believe the two main reasons for the ongoing horse crisis are the recession and over breeding.

“Prices for horses have dropped significantly, while irresponsible horse dealers continue to breed horses in the hope prices will rise.”

Robert Taylor, from Derbyshire Trading Standards, which enforces fly-tipping and microchipping in the county, said resources were stretched.

“It is very difficult to police every single horse that is in Derbyshire and we do not have the resources to do that.

“The welfare of horses is not a statutory responsibility of local authorities and we are having to cut back on things we have to do, let alone things we are not obliged to do.”

Miss Dixon said: “These horses, when they are sick or dying, are worth nothing – less that nothing as they cost up to £150 to dispose of.

“People are too scared to speak out as those involved are involved in lots of other things.”

A veterinary nurse who found the horse in Nottinghamshire believes it may have died giving birth

At the beginning of January she offered a £2,000 reward for information.

“Since I offered the reward I have had a lot of information about who is doing this and I have handed that over to the authorities, but so far nothing has happened.

“Dumping a horse breaks laws on fly-tipping, microchipping and animal cruelty, yet no one wants to stop it.”



  • If the carcass is not claimed or microchipped, the local authority will take over and make sure it is disposed of properly under animal by-product legislation
  • If the animal is dead, the owner or landowner is responsible for disposing of the carcass
  • If a horse is still alive, the RSPCA or other equine charities will attempt to find the owner and, if necessary, prosecute them for cruelty
  • The disposal is paid for by the owner, or if unclaimed, the Highways Agency or local council