THIS little pony is the worst case of neglect a Findon animal sanctuary has ever seen.
Stacey McSpirit, who runs Paws, in The Oval, was called to rescue the male pony from the side of the A27 near Findon village on Sunday morning.
She said: “A lady had been taking her dog for a walk when she saw the pony by the side of the busy road. She was worried it might cause an accident so I quickly drove down there – I have never seen such a neglected pony, her backbone was sticking out, she was matted all over, had lice, and her whole body was covered in prickly burrs.”
Stacey tied a rope to the animal and led it through Findon village to the sanctuary.
She said: “It was so weak, it could only walk very slowly. We wormed the pony and cut off the worst of the matted fur with clippers. It’s so sad that someone could abandon or neglect an animal in this way – it would be a definite case of prosecution if we knew who the owner was.”
Stacey removed all the burrs and prickles from the pony’s coat, and had to cut its mane off because it had become so matted.
Paws has reported the neglect to the British Horse Society, the RSPCA and Sussex Police.
Stacey added: “We are hearing of more and more abandoned horses, or horses being given away for free, because people cannot afford to keep their fields and end up with nowhere for the animals. The pony is now recovering, but I think it will be at the sanctuary for quite some time.”
Lee Hackett senior executive for welfare at The British Horse Society, said: “The BHS has received a significant increase in the number of calls relating to potentially abandoned horses. There are a number of factors that determine the reasons for why a horse is abandoned – one of the main reasons we believe, aside from the economic climate, is because of indiscriminate breeding. The BHS has its Responsible Breeding Campaign.
“In the UK there are currently more horses than there are safe and experienced homes and the BHS continues to urge horse owners to think before they breed.”
The pony has been named Elvis, after Eel Fish Parsley, an Elvis tribute band which regularly raises money for the sanctuary. The band will be holding a charity concert to raise more funds for Paws on March 10.