Specialist RSPCA equine officers are attending Seamer Horse Fair from today (Thursday 11 July). The site opened this morning with the actual horse fair itself taking place on Monday (15 July).


The RSPCA will have three officers present each day along with a veterinary surgeon from Redwings Horse Sanctuary.


The RSPCA and Redwings went along for the first time last year after Scarborough Borough Council and North Yorkshire Police representatives visited Appleby Horse Fair*, the biggest gathering of Gypsies and Travellers in Europe, in Cumbria a month earlier.


Chief inspector Cathy Hyde, RSPCA national equine co-ordinator, said: “The horse fair at Seamer is much smaller than Appleby but the potential problems from an animal welfare point of view are very similar.


“Seamer attracts a lot of the same people who go along to Appleby so they know what to expect from us.


“Our small team dealt with only a very small number of issues last year and were generally well received, so we’re hoping this year will be the same.”


The weather is forecast to be hot which brings its own issues. The RSPCA is urging people not to bring dogs to the event, and with the assistance of North Yorkshire Police, will be taking a zero tolerance approach to dogs in hot cars.


“We’ve already had two dogs die in hot cars in the North of England this week – one in Bury and one in Bradford – and the RSPCA has received many hundreds of phone calls about dogs in hot cars since the hot weather began. We do not want a repeat performance here or anywhere else,” said chief inspector Hyde.


“Temperatures rise extremely quickly in a car in this heat and even minutes could prove fatal for your pet. Do not do it.”


Roxanne Kirton, a welfare veterinary surgeon from Redwings said: “We work hand in hand with the RSPCA at Appleby and are very happy to assist here too. Happily last year everything ran very smoothly and we are hoping for the same again this week.”


North Yorkshire Police superintendent Glyn Payne, safer neighbourhood commander for Scarborough and Ryedale, said: “Last year’s event passed off smoothly and the animal welfare aspect was very well received by the majority of attendees. We hope this year goes just as well and that visitors make the most of the specialist advice on offer. It’s also a timely opportunity to remind people not to leave their animals inside vehicles during the hot weather forecast for the next week. We’ve had a number of reports over the past week about distressed dogs left in sweltering cars, please take them with you and make sure you have plenty of fresh water for them.”