Fears sparked by death of foal in St Albans

This foal died after becoming hypothermic and dehydrated

This foal died after becoming hypothermic and dehydrated - Credit: Archant

The death of a foal has prompted a woman who tried to help rescue it to speak out about her fears for the safety of other horses.

The woman, who wishes to remain anonymous, found the hypothermic foal after it had fallen in mud in a field near the A414.

It has since been revealed that the foal, which was also dehydrated, was put down at the scene after waiting for hours in the cold.

The woman contacted the Herts Advertiser following the incident to voice her concerns about the safety of other horses after approximately 11 equine deaths in the past 15 months in the area.

She believes the horses, which are kept on land owned by Lafarge Tarmac, are gipsy horses not being cared for properly.

She said: “I think that people who own the land need to act much faster to get the horses removed.

“If the gypsies don’t have a field to put their horses then they will stop breeding them.”

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After phoning the emergency services, the fire department came to lift the foal out of the mud, before the vet arrived to treat the animal.

She left the scene, but when the lady returned hours later, the foal had fallen over again and was in a worse state.

This time the RSPCA were there and the vet had returned to the scene to treat the animal again.

She said: “It’s very upsetting. Had he been treated earlier in the day it’s unlikely he would have died. It’s a real shame. He was left for I don’t know how long. How many more horses need to die?”

The RSPCA say that cruelty to horses is an increasing problem and they will continue to monitor the situation.

A spokesperson said: “The RSPCA was called in by the independent vet, who had been on scene with the fire and rescue service, around an hour after the rescue had taken place.

“Sadly the vet concluded the foal’s condition had deteriorated rapidly and they advised the foal had to be put to sleep to prevent further suffering.”

Lafarge Tarmac has fenced off 500 metres of the site where it borders the A414 to try to secure the land, but in some areas fences are illegally removed and horses are moved back on to the sites.

A spokesperson said: “We recognise the distressing plight of these abandoned and stray horses and will continue to work with Hertfordshire County Council, charities – including the RSPCA and Redwing Animal Charity – and others to try to resolve this problem.

“Legally, we are not allowed to remove horses from our land just because they are being fly grazed.

“At Colney Heath, we sought and gained a possession order from the court and on March 6, bailiffs removed eight horses from the site.”

Anyone with information on this incident can contact the RSPCA in confidence on the inspectorate appeal line: 0300 123 8018.