Four ponies have been rescued after they were found illegally grazing in horrendous conditions without access to food, water, shelter or bedding.

After receiving a report of illegal fly grazing in Courtauld Road, Basildon, horse rescue officers, supported by Essex Police, attended the site on Saturday (22 April) to find four animals in distress.

One pony, a piebald mare, was discovered in a small area approximately five feet by five feet, without access to food or water and surrounded by live cattle wire which could have electrocuted the animal.

A second pony, a foal filly, was found tied dangerously with two rub wounds to her back legs from cart/trap sores.

Two small ponies were then found detained inside a large dog kennel which was incredibly cramped and dangerous for the animals.

With the assistance of police, the four ponies were all taken away into care.

The operation took place using the Control of Horses Act, which gives councils the power to remove and detain animals found to be unlawfully occupying public land.

The Act is designed to protect the welfare of animals while making owners liable to pay any costs for damage caused during the unlawful occupation, as well as expenses incurred by the council in detaining the animals.

If an owner fails to meet their financial obligations, ownership of the horse passes to the council, which can then arrange for the animal to be sold or rehomed.

A Basildon Council spokesman said: “I’d like to thank Essex Police for their swift response and assistance in the operation to safely detain these animals.

“The owners showed reckless disregard for the wellbeing of their animals by leaving them in these awful conditions.

“Illegal fly grazing will not be tolerated under any circumstances and Basildon Council will always strive to act decisively to protect animals and ensure their owners face up to the consequences of their irresponsibility.”

By law, all horses, ponies, donkeys and related animals in the UK must be microchipped and have a horse passport.

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