The blog of a travelling psychiatrist and football lover. Who happens to be a halfway decent photographer. Takes a cynical view of the world

Archive for the tag “rspca”

Possible Horse Cruelty. The surprising response from RSPCA

While out walking the dog off the lead over a public footpath and land at Cobham, I had to urgently recall the dog having seen a horse loose in the field maybe 50 yards away.  it was not possible to predict how the horse or dog would respond. This is a field other dog walkers and myself use regularly, and for anyone who knows the area it is across the road from the Sainsbury’s petrol station at Cobham, next to the River Mole.

We then walked up to the horse and saw that it had been tethered to a small post in the ground and was attached by a metal chain. The mane of the horse was covered in flies. The horse, to a non-expert, looked healthy but was in a field exposed to bright sunlight with no cover. There was a plastic bucket of water on the edge of the circle surrounding the horse. The horse had clearly trampled the long grass underfoot in a circumference that his chain allowed. I am really unsure if the horse could reach the water. I simply do not know as did not want to go too close with a 9 month husky puppy very interested by this stage in the horse.

So what to do? I have sat through hours of TV programmes, mostly USA but some UK, detailing animal rescue services for various animals in distress. Two things came to mind. Firstly my presumption was that it was illegal to simply tether an animal on public ground. Secondly, the health issue potentially for the horse, particularly if it got warmer ( temperature was around 22c), or it could not reach the water, or reached and drank all the water.

I called the RSPCA at Godstone, they seemed geographically the nearest. After a series of messages and holding on, I was given a recorded message to call another 24 hour number. On dealing this number, there were again a number of options, none actually exactly what i needed, however eventually after listening to around 5 minutes of disturbing elevator music, I spoke to a young female operator. I outlined the problem. It was then somewhat surprising to learn that it was not illegal to tether a horse in this way, and that there was nothing they could do. In short they had no option but to wait until the horse became visibly distressed or presumably collapsed.

This seems to be the situation as summed up here:

Horses may be kept loose in fields crossed by public rights of way as long as they are not known to be dangerous.

Horses may not be ridden on public footpaths unless the landowner has given permission. A horse rider may be asked to leave any land over which they do not have the right to ride, and may be asked to pay for any damages caused. If a horse being ridden on a public bridleway or byway injures another person, the owner of the horse may be held responsible for the injuries, and the horse rider may be held responsible if they are shown to be negligent in controlling the horse.

A number of things come to mind including the potential for dogs in this field off the lead to worry or even attack the horse. The health of the horse ( I am no expert). The final option from the RSPCA woman to me was for me to observe and monitor the situation. Lastly it was difficult to see how the horse could enter or leave the field without using a public footpath. So lets see what happens. IMG_9352

Australian State New South Wales Ban Greyhound Racing

The state is working towards a ban from july 2017 after uncovering what they describe as “horrific” cruelty.”We are left with no acceptable course of action except to close this industry down,” Premier Mike Baird said. This emerged following an investigation and reports that animals such as rabbits and possums were being chased and killed in training sessions.

Four Australian states – NSW, Victoria, Queensland and Tasmania – subsequently launched inquiries into greyhound racing. In 2015 the NSW greyhound racing board stepped down after this illegal baiting was exposed in a TV documentary. This however was only the start. Mr Baird’s ruling came in response to the findings of a Special Commission of Inquiry, which were handed to the state government last week. The Inquiry found that in the last 12 years in NSW, between 49,000 and 68,000 dogs were killed because they weren’t considered quick enough to win races.IMG_3082

In recent years, the sport has enjoyed a resurgence across Australia. Prize money has sky-rocketed and betting is more than £2bn ($2.6bn) a year . This raises the question as to what will happen to the 20,000 racing greyhounds in this state alone. In the UK the Wimbledon Greyhound Welfare Trust that rehomes and socialises retired racing greyhounds expressed concerns earlier this year over the closure of a single greyhound track at Wimbledon and the potential influx of new greyhounds. FullSizeRender-1

There is already huge debate over this banning with views expressed that jobs and livelihoods will be lost, however the australian RSPCA reported this as an immense day for animal welfare. Opinion is thus divided.

NSW has strong penalties for animal cruelty of five year jail sentences plus a $22,000 fine for individuals found guilty of animal cruelty.

However critics argue that there is little evidence of these penalties being enforced.

In the short term the learnings are:

  • Animal cruelty is a crime and cannot be acceptable. Violators should be punished
  • Greyhounds do make excellent pets and at least 75% can be socilaised to the extent of making re-homing possible. Education is further needed over how to adopt these beautiful dogs through trusts such as WGW in UK that do superb work.
  • Banning greyhound racing may be an extreme reaction but it may be needed temporarily to identify and prevent the problems reported. Whether it is needed longer term remains to be seenIMG_0177



Do you want to help Bury animals? RSPCA do.

This just made me laugh. Another graphic designer who may need another job!


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