The RSPCA is urging people not to bring dogs to Appleby Horse Fair*, which starts tomorrow (Thursday 4-Monday 8 June) in the Cumbrian town of Appleby-in-Westmorland.

 

RSPCA animal welfare officers say they spent more time dealing with dogs in hot cars last year than incidents involving horses.

 

RSPCA chief inspector Rob Melloy said: “We’re being loud and clear on this subject – don’t bring dogs to Appleby Horse Fair.

 

“Last year four collie-type dogs were removed from the back of a pick-up truck and a collie-type dog was removed from a car in a car park.

 

“The year before a German Shepherd was removed from a hot car, his owner was prosecuted, and the year before that two dogs were removed from hot cars.

 

“These are entirely preventable incidents. Appleby Horse Fair is not the right place for dogs. I’m talking to visitors to the fair really, not Gypsies and Travellers, though caravans and awnings can also get hot, even on cloudy days.

 

“If you are coming to the fair leave your dog at home.”

 

The RSPCA is working with Cumbria Constabulary on a zero tolerance approach to this and where dogs are considered to be in danger they will be removed by any means necessary.

 

The RSPCA is the lead animal welfare organisation at the fair and will have 26 officers there during peak times including specialist equine officers from all over the country.

 

The RSPCA works hand-in-hand with four other animal welfare organisations at the fair. There will be three vets and two specialist field officers from Redwings Horse Sanctuary. World Horse Welfare is sending four field officers. Blue Cross is sending six grooms and one horse-unit manager to assist with the handling and transportation of horses. The Donkey Sanctuary is sending a vet, their Head of Welfare and a Donkey Welfare Advisor.

 

There will be a vet station at Salt Tip Corner where assistance can be sought for any animal

 

that needs it and anyone with any concerns is urged to alert us to them. The vet station will be

staffed on Friday, Saturday and Sunday (5/6/7 June) between 10am-4pm.

 

“The partnership we have between us at Appleby Horse Fair works really well,” said RSPCA chief inspector Melloy. “We’re one big team all working to the same aim.”

 

Education staff and volunteers from all four of the animal welfare charities – all members of the National Equine Welfare Council – along with The British Horse Society (BHS) and Bransby Horses will also be manning an information and education tent on Salt Tip Corner where Gypsies and Travellers can share knowledge and discuss issues relating to horse care. Now in its fifth year, the tent continues to grow in popularity thanks to interactive activities including specimens of real horse parasites and body condition scoring.

 

Redwings will be launching a new campaign aimed at young horse owners at the Fair and supported by the other charities at the tent. ‘The Best In Show’ Facebook page will give horse owners the opportunity to share pictures of their exceptional, well looked after horses under the hashtag #BestatAppleby with winners chosen by the vets on the ground throughout the show and online.

 

*Appleby Fair is unique in Europe and, as well as attracting around 10,000 Gypsies and Travellers, over 30,000 other visitors attend the fair, with Sunday being the traditional main visitors’ day. It transforms the town of Appleby for the week, as it normally has a population of around 2,500.

 

The fair has been in existence for at least 300 years, and probably longer. It is the largest horse fair in Britain and amongst the oldest in Europe.

 

The fair has a primary connection with Fair Hill, which is in the ownership of Appleby Town Council. Much of the horse dealing takes place at the crossroads by Fair Hill, and on the Sands by the River Eden, where nearby roads are closed for periods to allow horses to be shown and

traded.

 

Multi Agency Strategic Co-ordinating Group (MASCG)

 

In October 2007, the Multi-Agency Strategic Co-ordinating Group (MASCG) was set up to bring together and co-ordinate the work of the key public agencies that have a regulatory role at the Fair.

 

The MASCG consists of representatives from the Gypsy and Traveller community, Eden District Council, Cumbria Constabulary, Cumbria County Council, Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service, Cumbria NHS, North West Ambulance Service, RSPCA, Environment Agency, South Lakeland District Council, Highways Agency and HMRC. The objective is to make the fair a safer and more enjoyable event for residents, Gypsies and Travellers and visitors.

 

For the latest information about Appleby Horse Fair 2015 visit http://www.applebyfair.org/, follow http://twitter.com/ApplebyFair on Twitter or visit the Appleby Horse Fair Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/ApplebyHorseFair