SSPCA appeal to rehome neglected horses and donkeys

A LEADING Scottish animal charity has launched a special appeal to find new homes for eight horses and three donkeys seized after a major investigation into the illegal transport of animals.

• The animals were taken into the care of the Scottish SPCA last year

• A horse trader from Northern Ireland was fined £13,500 for causing suffering to the animals

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• The SSPCA are now appealing for suitable owners to come forward

The eleven horses and donkeys, some in extremely poor and neglected condition, were taken into the care of the Scottish SPCA last year during an investigation into the illegal transportation of horses from Northern Ireland into Scotland.

Last month Laurence McAllister, 56, a hose trader from County Antrim in Northern Ireland was fined £13,500 at Stranraer Sheriff Court after he was found guilty of causing suffering to the horses and donkeys he was transporting.

The court was told that when his horse wagon was examined at the P&O terminal at Cairnryan last summer there was no clean bedding and the donkeys were not secured in their stalls, with a wooden pallet leaning on one of them. McAllister was also disquali­fied from transporting animals for three years.

All of the animals were signed over into the Scottish SPCA’s care, where they have been recovering from their ordeal. But a very young foal had to be put to sleep despite undergoing lengthy specialist veterinary treatment.

A spokeswoman for the SSPCA said: “Staff are now appealing for suitable owners to come forward and offer the remaining horses and donkeys the second chance they deserve.

“Three horses are being cared for at the charity’s rescue and rehoming centre in Balerno, Edinburgh, while three are being looked after at their centre in Drumoak, Aberdeenshire. A further two horses and three donkeys have been recovering at private stables.”

Chief Superintendent Mike Flynn said: “These horses and donkeys have spent over a year being rehabilitated by our dedicated staff.

“Some required veterinary treatment for injuries and illnesses, however, these animals did not just need our help to recover physically. Many were also affected mentally and it has taken a great deal of time to bring them round to the point where they are ready to be rehomed.

“An adult donkey in particular was in extremely poor condition. She was suffering from horrifically overgrown hooves and was very fearful of humans.

“We also have her foal, who was born in our care, and a second adult donkey. All three are very closely bonded so we are keeping them together. We therefore need to find someone who can provide for the needs of all three and has adequate accommodation to house them comfortably”

He continued:”There are also eight adult horses of various ages and breeds. Some may be suitable to be ridden while others would be best kept as companion horses.

“We have put in a huge amount of time and effort to get these horses and donkeys fit, healthy and ready to be rehomed and we’d really like to see them settled with good owners soon.”

Chief Supt Flynn added: “While most people know we rehome dogs, cats and small animals, there is less awareness of the fact that we rescue, rehabilitate and find new owners for horses and ponies.

“We have dedicated equine facilities at both our Edinburgh and Lothians and Aberdeenshire centres.

“Sadly, many of the horses and ponies we take in have either been rescued from neglect or were no longer wanted by their owners. It is extremely rewarding to offer an animal a second chance in life and we would certainly encourage anyone thinking of taking on a horse, pony or donkey to contact us.”