Hunt for new homes for St Albans’ neglected horses

Horses which are being kept on land next to the A414

Horses which are being kept on land next to the A414 - Credit: Archant

An urgent appeal to find new homes for horses, ponies and donkeys has been launched by the RSPCA following continued complaints in St Albans about irresponsible owners.

The charity said England and Wales were “in the grip of a horse crisis” and struggling to keep pace with the number of calls about horses left to suffer or die, with figures showing Herts has the fifth highest number of complaints in the south east region.

As previously publicised in the Herts Advertiser, local animal lovers have been left distressed and frustrated at seeing horses suffer after being let loose from fields to escape onto busy roads, or left to die in the open.

Last year there was a spate of travellers’ horses which either died after being struck by vehicles on the A414, or reported to police and the RSPCA after being left to graze illegally in Colney Heath.

More recently, a horse was left to die on the 52-hectare former Smallford pit between Colney Heath and Smallford Lanes, and a hypothermic foal found dehydrated after falling in mud near the A414 had to be put down.

The RSPCA received complaints about 2,388 horses in Herts in 2014 which had been abandoned, or discovered sick or dying.

Yet it only has places for about 120 horses, ponies and donkeys at its equine centres – the vast majority are put in private boarding.

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It costs the charity close to £3 million every year to look after these animals both in its centres and private stables.

To apply to adopt a horse, pony or donkey visit

• Local farmers and landowners now have greater powers to deal with horses left illegally on their land after the Control of Horses Bill received Royal Assent recently to became an Act of Parliament.