RSPCA receive 16 calls about horse welfare in Wiltshire since lockdown

RSPCA receive 16 calls about horse welfare in Wiltshire since lockdown

Published by Jack Deery at 8:16am 10th June 2020.

3 minute read

The charity warn that a financial recession, due to Covid-19, could cause an equine crisis with possible thousands of horses by being dumped or dying.

The RSPCA have received 16 calls in Wiltshire and 64 in Hampshire about concern for horses since lockdown. 

In 2019, they received 211 reports about incidents involving the animal in Wiltshire, but fear it could be much higher this year.

They say that lockdown has put equine welfare charities under immense strain already. 

Christine McNeil, the charity’s National Equine Inspectors Co-Ordinator said: 

"This is a truly worrying time for equine charities - we still haven’t got a handle on the repercussions of the current horse crisis, and it now looks like the worst is yet to come.

In April 2011, before the effects of the financial recession had hit, the RSPCA had 290 horses in its care, already more than our official stables could house. The following year, the impact of the crisis really began to hit and our officers were called out every day up and down the country to neglected and abandoned horses. 

By May 2012, the number of horses in our care had leapt to 600. Fast-forward to today, and we’re caring for 927 horses - that’s three times the amount since the crisis hit, and we strongly fear that the impact will be even worse this time round."


At the beginning of May this year, the charity were called about a herd of 14 Shetland ponies in Wiltshire that were unable to be cared for by it's owner. 

Concerns were growing for their welfare, so they had to be taken to the RSPCA Millbrook Animal Centre where they were cared for and looked after. 

Charlotte Neary, equine yard supervisor at RSPCA Millbrook said: 

"These little ponies are such characters, and we are so pleased to see them coming on leaps and bounds since being in our care. They are all older ponies ages between 18 and 28 years old, so they are really at a time in their lives where specialist care is essential to keep them healthy. 

However, this of course comes at a great cost, and we just couldn’t do the work we do rescuing and rehabilitating ponies like this without the generosity of the public. 

If we hadn’t been there to take in these ponies and take care of them, including vaccinations, micro-chips, worming, foot trimming, lice treatment, worming, and of course their day-to-day needs, who knows what would have happened."

Pollyanna, Bette, Charm, Coco, Alice, Karen, Kara, Cinders, Jodie, Missy, Rainbow, Louise, Cindy and Clementine will be looking for new homes soon.

The charity spends around £5200 per year for the care of each horse taken in.

The charity have received 16 calls about horse welfare in Wiltshire since the end of March


The RSCPA are now appealing for vital donations to help prepare itself for an influx of horses.

They are encouraging everyone to donate as much as possible so they can provide good quality care. 

You can give some money by visiting

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