Petition backed by thousands to remove horses from Fareham land is submitted to council

CAMPAIGNERS have submitted a petition with more than 8,400 signatures to a council calling for the removal of four horses.

Friday, 16th December 2016, 6:00 am
Updated Saturday, 17th December 2016, 9:41 am
Molly, one of the horses which the petition calls for to be removed

The petition, which has been backed by animal lovers across the country, was submitted to Fareham Borough Council yesterday in response to concerns about the safety of four horses following their previous owner being sentenced for animal cruelty.

Councillor Sean Woodward, the authority’s leader, accepted the petition on behalf of the borough council from two anonymous campaigners before it was then formally presented to Fareham mayor, Councillor Connie Hockley, at the start of a full council meeting.

The campaigners have called for the removal of four horses in Newgate Lane, Fareham. It follows Clare Hopkins being handed a suspended prison sentence of eight weeks, a £300 fine and a ban from keeping horses for three years in November after admitting three offences in regards to three of the horses being left unattended for two weeks. A horse called Phoebe died during that time.

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The remaining four horses were then left in the care of her family, although there is no suggestion of any mistreatment from them.

The petition was set up by Rebecca Johnson, who said: ‘The historic cycle of reports to the RSPCA, with improvement notices issued and changes made by the former owner until monitoring stops – only to be repeated a short while later – needed to stop. And ultimately the continuing pattern of neglect has ended in this tragic event with the dead of Phoebe.

‘If the council’s environmental health department and animal welfare officer had not responded to public appeals for help and attended the scene, how much longer would it have taken?’

The petition calls for the horses’ removal, stating that given the ‘historical evidence of neglect’ on the land, the animals should be removed under the Animal Welfare Act 2006.

Cllr Woodward added: ‘I would like to thank all the people who have taken the trouble to sign this petition as well as the organisers. As a horse lover and owner myself, any cruelty to these beautiful creatures appals me.

‘As a council we work closely with the RSPCA to bring to account those who abuse horses or any other animal.’