Mystery horses abandoned on Stevenage land

Abandoned horses on London Road, Stevenage

Abandoned horses on London Road, Stevenage - Credit: Archant

Four horses and a pony have been abandoned on private land in an apparent incident of “fly-grazing”.

The miniature Shetland pony

The miniature Shetland pony - Credit: Archant

The animals first appeared on private land adjacent to the Roaring Meg Retail Park in Stevenage more than 10 days ago.

By law, landowners have a duty of care towards animals left on their property. The horses and pony cannot be legally transported until they have been reported as abandoned for a minimum of two weeks.

The landowners, religious charity Ahmadiyya Muslim Association, were advised by police to put up a notice stating the animals would be rehomed, sold or humanely destroyed once the 14-day period is up on Sunday.

Site manager Mohammed Wahead said: “I think it is important to clarify that we do not plan on killing these animals. We just have to follow the correct legal procedure before we can rehouse them.


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“Many people have been in touch asking to take the horses, but we are just following the law. We would not choose a course of action that would harm, injure or cause distress to the horses.”

The RSPCA has reported a 69% increase in equine rescues relating to fly-grazing across England, up from 901 cases in 2012 to 1,526 last year.

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A spokesman for the RSPCA said: “Our officers are carrying out regular checks on the horses. Frustratingly, current laws do not adequately allow swift action in cases of fly-grazing. Up to eight different pieces of legislation can apply depending on the situation, requiring legal advice and a lengthy process to resolve the situation.”

Anyone with information about the owners of the animals is advised to contact the RSPCA on 0300 123 4999.

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