THE SSPCA are investigating shocking images which have emerged appearing to show horses so hungry they had started to eat bark from trees.
The team of Welsh Cob ponies, housed on the outskirts of Lanark, were photographed looking thin, with their ribs protruding, by concerned locals.
Some of the horses also appear to be covered in mud and manure.
Yvette Cook, who took the images, also photographed the field where the ponies are housed in – showing trees stripped of their bark.
The ponies owner today (thur) denied any neglect and said that two of the horses had a “bad winter”.
The 30-year-old from Lanark, South Lanarkshire, shared the snaps on Facebook asking for advice from fellow animal lovers.
In a lengthy Facebook post, the sales assistant, wrote: “Over the past few months myself and others have grown increasingly concerned for the welfare of these poor ponies occupying a field near to my relative. I see them a few days each week and the conditions are only getting worse.
“We have reported our concerns to the authorities numerous times and only once was food put in for these ponies after a welfare officer visited.
“They are all very depressed and a few look sick and very thin with sore skin and scouring at the back end. They have been left in torn and dangerous rugs and are eating trees because they are starving.
“They are neglecting these ponies and they are suffering. I don’t know what else to do. I worry about them constantly yet their actual owners don’t care.”
On social media, Katrina McGhee said: “Disgusting. They should not be allowed to keep animals.”
Lindsay Jean Mcleod added: “This makes me so sad. They look totally depressed and starved of love and affection.”
Eileen Burton commented: “It makes your blood boil. Neglect is a terrible thing.”
Susan Griffiths asked: “How could they be so cruel?”
Another local, who wished to remain anonymous, claims the problem has been going on for around three years.
Yvette uploaded a series of photographs to Facebook yesterday (WED) showing various ponies looking disheveled and wearing dirty mud covered rugs.
One brown pony with a white mane looks particularly skinny, and was photographed eating bark from trees which had fallen in the field.
Another picture showed horse manure matted into one ponies tail, and manure spread across the churned up field believed to house 11 horses.
A horse owner, who wishes to remain anonymous, claims that the issue has been going on for at least three years. She said: “I used to stable some of their horses, and they would go back to them for a few months. When they came back they were almost unrecognisable, this happened with two different ponies.
“Even my vet was shocked and appalled, she had seen them before they went away, and the difference in them was ridiculous.”
The SSPCA today (thur) confirmed they are investigating the images, while World Horse Welfare said they are working with the owners to “improve conditions onsite.”
Scottish SPCA Inspector Heather Lawson said: “We are aware of a situation regarding horses in Lanarkshire. We are currently working with other organisations, and our investigations are ongoing.”
A spokeswoman for World Horse Welfare said: “We have provided the owners with advice, and they have now moved two younger horses to alternative accommodation. We will continue to work with the owners to help them improve conditions on site.”
Speaking today (thur), the owner dismissed any claims of neglect, saying : “I don’t know what pictures you’ve seen but we have 11 ponies in that field and nine of them are as fat as a barrel. Two of them had a bad winter, but there’s hailage in with them 24/7, they always have food.
“It is absolutely untrue, there is zero truth to this, and it all stems from malicious hate against us.”
When asked about SSPCA investigation, she replied: “That’s news to me. We have had World Horse Welfare out today and they didn’t have any concerns for any of the horses.”