RSPCA inspector watching ponies at River Eden, Appleby Horse Fair © Phil Wilson / RSPCA Photolibrary


We are urging people not to bring dogs to Appleby Horse Fair, Cumbria for the annual Gypsy and Traveller event, which starts on Thursday (6-12 June).

Despite advising people of the dangers, our officers pulled two dogs out of hot cars again during the 2012 event. Their owners were given cautions.

Dogs die in hot cars

RSPCA Chief Inspector Rob Melloy, said:

It’s unacceptable. Dogs shouldn’t be brought to the fair at all, it is quite simply no place for them. Horses can get ‘spooked’ by dogs and dogs can get trampled by horses.

Fortunately the two dogs pulled out of hot cars last year were okay but that could easily not have been the case.

I don’t know what it takes for people to get the message that dogs die in hot cars. It happens fast. If you leave your dog in your car on a hot day it will happen to you.

Dogs die in hot carsCaravans and awnings can also get hot on even cloudy days. We’re working with Cumbria Constabulary on a zero tolerance approach to this and where dogs are considered to be in danger they will be removed.
Find out more about the dangers of leaving dogs in hot cars.

Protecting animal welfare at Appleby Horse Fair

The RSPCA is the leading animal welfare organisation at the fair and will have 32 officers and a vet there during peak times including 15 specialist equine officers from all over the country.
Chief Inspector Melloy, said:

We will have officers stationed at key locations as normal, but we are going to be paying special attention to the flashing lane this year. Every year horses have to be stitched up after collisions and people are often injured too. We want to see if there is anything we can do to improve safety in future.

A joint effort

We work hand-in-hand with four other animal welfare organisations at the fair. There will be:

  • Four vets and a specialist field officer/professional driver from Redwings.
  • Four field officers and a vet from World Horse Welfare.
  • Two welfare officers and one vet from the Donkey Sanctuary and
  • A logistics co-ordinator and two drivers from Blue Cross.

Concerned about an animal at Appleby?

RSPCA officer and vet treating foal with dog bite injuries © RSPCA photolibraryThere will be a vet station at Salt Tip Corner where anyone with any concerns about an animal can see someone. It will be staffed on Friday, Saturday and Sunday (7, 8, 9 June) between 10am-4pm.

Representatives from all of the animal welfare charities, which are all members of the National Equine Welfare Council, will also be manning an information and education stand on Salt Tip Corner to talk to Gypsies and Travellers about their horses.

We’re also reminding people that selling dogs or birds at the fair is illegal and are urging people not to purchase them. For more information about buying a puppy please visit:

Read more about our work at last year’s Appleby Horse Fair.