RSPCA's watch over Hovefields horses

Echo: The stables The stables

THE RSPCA is keeping a careful watch over two horses living in a squalid makeshift stable at the former illegal Hovefields traveller site.

Neighbours claim they have never seen the horses out of the disused Luton van body, which has stood on the site since illegal traveller pitches were removed in September 2010.

Echo:

Horse box: the makeshift stables

When the Echo visited the site earlier this week, the horses were still there, kept inside with a sheet of plywood tied across the end of the body.

A woman living nearby who asked not to be named said: “It’s horrific.

“They need exercise, but have not been out for two weeks or more. They look very thin and are standing in their own excrement and mud.

“We reported it to the RSPCA and it came out to inspect them and said it was assured by the owner the horses would be moved to more suitable accommodation last weekend, but they were still there on Monday.”

Echo:

Squalid: The horses crammed inside the Luton

Last year, the Echo reported on a previous incident in which an attempt was made to use the same van body as a stable.

On that occasion, the animal bolted before it could be put in.

Concerns have been raised several times about the welfare of horses and dogs on the site in recent years.

Several horses have escaped and caused problems for motorists, after straying into the nearby A127.

Echo:

Empty: horses' hay bowl

Last September, three horses were killed and several drivers were hurt in two separate incidents on the same day involving animals which had escaped from the Hovefields site.

Echo:

Dirt: excrement on bare floor

Another female neighbour was so concerned about the horses, she called the RSPCA.

She said: “At the time, they had drinking water, but there was no hay for them. There is not much room for them in there and they seemed quite frightened.

Echo:

Thirsty? Water-filled bowl

“I just hope the RSPCA is able to take them in, or make sure they are moved somewhere suitable.”

Echo:

Mange: growths appear visible on the horses' fur

An RSPCA spokesman said the horses appeared to be unhurt.

He added: “Following further concerns raised on Tuesday, we can reassure residents the matter has not been closed and it will continue to be monitored to ensure animal welfare laws are not broken.”

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