Probe as six horses found in 'poor' condition in Tarbock Green
The RSPCA is investigating after six horses were found in a field in an alleged poor condition.
The horses' owner, John Davey, said he was co-operating with the charity and denied claims they were being ill-treated on land in Merseyside.
Resident Amanda Woods said horses were in a "horrific condition" when they found them on Sunday.
A foal was discovered entangled in an electric fence but Mr Davey said the power was off.
Mrs Woods said they discovered a dead foal in a barn in Coney Lane, Tarbock Green, and said other horses seemed "very thin".
She wants the horses to be seized from owner, founder and managing director of Davey's Chemists, who also breeds racehorses.
A petition has been signed by more than 4,000 people.
The smell in the barn was "repulsive," Mrs Woods added, and said mares in the field were "thin and their feet are in a poor condition".
Mr Davey told the BBC the horses were "in good order." He said a mare and foal had been moved to another stable by the residents to "give them a chance to come right".
He admitted that one of the animals had a cut on its forehead, but it was being treated with cream from a vet.
The animals' owner said he appreciated the help of the "Good Samaritans" who alerted him to the foal entangled in electric fence tape.
He said they had been making arrangements for the dead foal to be taken away.
Mr Davey said the animals were "not emaciated".
The RSPCA said it was "was made aware of animal welfare concerns about a number of horses in stables and on land in Knowsley".
In a statement, it said the inspector requested the attendance of an experienced equine vet.
An inspector has attended daily to ensure that the welfare advice given to the owner is being acted upon.
"As this is an ongoing investigation, we are unable to comment further at this time," it added.
"We want to reassure the public we are doing all we can to help these horses and their welfare is very important to us."