20,000 join Facebook campaign for horses in flooded Leicester field

Mark Johnson tries to rescue a horse trapped in flooded fields in Fosse Park

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More than 20,000 people have joined a Facebook campaign after two horses died in flooded fields near Leicester.

Farrier Mark Johnson set up the page after trying to help a horse he found trapped in waterlogged ground on Saturday, which had to be put down.

The decomposed body of another horse has been removed from the field.

Despite concerns from members of the public, the RSPCA has said the horses have sufficient food and dry land and no laws had been broken.

Mr Johnson contacted the fire service and the RSPCA when he found the trapped animal on Saturday.

His son Harry filmed him trying in vain to rescue it and they uploaded the footage to the Facebook page they created.

Horses, Fosse Park, Leicester The RSPCA says the horses have enough dry land and food

Within hours, hundreds of people had liked the page.

"We were bringing hay to it. We were trying to get it to eat and we were massaging it," said Mr Johnson.

Deluge of calls to RSPCA

  • The RSPCA said the floods have stretched it to "breaking point" with more than 1,500 flood related calls since the beginning of the year
  • It has rescued more than 400 animals from flooded areas, including Somerset, Dorset and Berkshire, since Monday

Source: RSPCA

"They [the fire service and RSPCA] got their blankets out and covered the horse and tried to make it as comfortable as they could.

"But sadly they couldn't stimulate it enough. The RSPCA called the vet and the animal had to be killed."

Both the RSPCA and landowners Everard Brewery said they have talked with the tenant who owns the animals.

A second "decomposed" body was found in the fields but a cause of death could not be established. The RSPCA ordered the tenant to remove it.

"Although the location is not ideal, due to recent flooding, the horses are kept on a huge area of land and have areas of dry land they can move to freely. The owner also attends and provides extra hay for them as well," a spokesman said.

Leicestershire Police said they have talked to the horse owners but they are not launching a criminal investigation.

Responding to criticisms of the tenants on the Facebook page, the RSPCA spokesman added: "Although conditions are not ideal the RSPCA cannot just remove horses if there are no legal offences broken.

"If there was evidence of clear neglect then the RSPCA would of course investigate."

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