The RSPCA is launching an urgent appeal for homes for horses, ponies and donkeys as the number in the charity’s care exceeds 600.

England and Wales are in the grip of a horse crisis and it’s the animals who are paying the price.

In the last three years the RSPCA received 69,410 calls about equines in England alone – with more than 22,000 in 2014. Calls in West Yorkshire were the highest anywhere in the country last year (1,447), in 2013 (1,558) and in 2012 (1,867) with 4,902 calls received about horses in the county in the past three years.*Danny before © RSPCA

The RSPCA is at capacity with the numbers of horses in its care and desperately needs to find homes for them to free up space to take in more neglected and abused animals.  It is estimated that 4,500 horses are still at risk across England.

Some of those horses that have suffered terribly and really need good new homes include Danny, a two-year-old cob (pictured above). Danny was found as a foal, collapsed and emaciated, laying in a muddy field in Leeds, West Yorkshire in April last year.

The inspector feared the worst when she saw his lifeless body but the little pony blinked his eye and she single-handedly managed to haul him out of the mud and back to his feet.

Danny was discovered with some hay but had so many worms in his body he was not getting any goodness from the food and became too weak to stand. He was also covered in lice and had sore bald patches on his body.

After months of being nursed back to health, the quiet, affectionate and sensible pony has now recovered. He is expected to grow to 13.2 to 14 hands.**

Danny’s owner was given a 12-week suspended prison sentence and disqualified from keeping animals for 10 years after he pleaded guilty to animal welfare charges.

Danny after © RSPCAAs of 19 March 2015 there were 640 equines in RSPCA care (rescued from England and Wales). The average boarding cost is £15 per day per horse.

Cathy Hyde, chief inspector for Greater Manchester and the RSPCA’s inspectorate national equine co-ordinator, said:  “We have so many beautiful horses and ponies in our care who’ve had a bad start in life and really deserve the care of a great owner.  We have rehomed horses who have gone on to win at shows like Equifest, so it shows that you really can be a winner if you take on a rescue horse.

“There is such a variety available, whether you’re looking for a young or old horse, a companion or one who can be worked.  Many of our horses have suffered terribly so please do think about taking on a rescue horse and giving them the second chance they deserve.”

New RSPCA statistics released today show the crisis is continuing in England:

  • Of the 69,410 calls to the RSPCA about horses in England over the past three years, 1,900 were about abandonments, showing that as the cost of keeping a horse increases, so do the numbers left to suffer or die.

  • The number of calls the RSPCA received about equines in 2014 remained high at 22,046 – these were in relation to an astonishing 72,106 equines.

  • Calls about equines have slightly decreased since 2012 (2013 – 23549, 2012 – 23765), but the numbers of horses complained about has consistently remained well above 70,000.

  • 1,506 horses were collected by the RSPCA in 2014 alone.

  • The main reasons for horses entering our care are starvation, untreated wounds and irresponsible ownership.

David Bowles, assistant director for public affairs at the RSPCA, said:  “As the Control of Horses Bill has just been made law, it is too early to know if it will help to reduce the numbers of abandonments across England but when the same legislation was passed in Wales last year we certainly saw more horses at risk over the border in England.

“We hope that the new law, that means that landowners can seize fly grazing horses earlier, will be an incentive to those irresponsible owners who don’t microchip their animals and leave them to suffer, knowing that they could previously get away with it.”

To apply to adopt Danny or one of the other horses, ponies or donkies in our care please visit www.rspca.org.uk/homesforhorses

Text HORSE to 70111 TO GIVE £3. Texts cost £3 + your standard network rate. The RSPCA will receive 100% of our donation, excluding 02 customers, where £2.96 will be received. By using this service, you agree that we may contact you in the future. If you’d rather we didn’t,  text OPTOUT to 70030. To discuss this donation, please call 0300 123 0346.

*Other county figures for the number of calls received by the RSPCA about equines in the North of England are below:

County

2014

2013

2012

Total

West Yorkshire

1447

1588

1867

4902

County Durham

874

1149

1082

3105

Greater Manchester

667

642

758

2067

Tyne and Wear

629

738

710

2077

South Yorkshire

623

606

593

1822

Lancashire

613

611

724

1949

North Yorkshire

585

805

908

2298

Lincolnshire

444

510

485

1439

East Yorkshire

391

361

426

1178

Cumbria

372

384

388

1144

Northumberland

160

311

305

776

There will be rehoming open days at:

  • Felledge Animal Centre, Chester Moor, Chester-le-Street, Co Durham between Friday 3 April and Monday 6 April.  Please book an appointment by calling 0300 123 0724.

  • Gonsal Farm Equine Welfare and Rehabilitation Centre, Dorrington, Shrewsbury, between Friday 3 April and Monday 6 April from 11am to 3pm each day. You can just turn up or you can book an appointment by calling 07720 948 636.

  • Lockwood Centre for Horses and Donkeys, Wormley, Godalming, Surrey on Saturday 4 and Sunday 5 April.  Please visit or call 0300 123 0720.

  • Millbrook Animal Centre, Chobham, Surrey on Monday 6 April between 11.30am and 4pm.  Please visit on the day or call 0300 123 0740.

  • Southridge Animal Centre, Potters Bar, Hertfordshire between Friday 3 and Monday 6 April.  Please visit the centre between 11am and 4.15pm (1pm and 4.15pm on Sunday) or call 0300 123 0704.