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Four foals 'abandoned' in Churchill field
FOUR foals have been seized by Worcestershire County Council after they were “abandoned” in a field in Churchill.
An order was made by Kidderminster magistrates last Friday to seize the four Gypsy Cob foals after they were found at the Cobham Estate, in Iveley Lane, in Churchill, on July 2 by the estate manager.
The animals, which have been named Juke, Robbie, Oliver and Pie, have been given to a local horse sanctuary.
Debra Stanton, a technical officer for animal health and welfare at Worcestershire Regulatory Services (WRS) told Kidderminster Magistrates Court how she believed the four foals were abandoned after a gate in the field they were found in had been damaged by a vehicle.
She said that the animals had been left in a field full of ragwort, a weed that can be toxic to horses, and they appeared “distressed”.
Miss Stanton tried to contact the owners by leaving a notice at the field, contacting West Mercia Police and calling local horse owners, including some in the traveller community.
The foals, which had already been moved to a horse sanctuary using an emergency order, had been suffering with worms and the youngest had lungworm.
Miss Stanton told the court: “The gate into the field had been knocked down and the hinges had been stolen.
“The foals were of quite poor bodily condition. They were very young, they weren’t grazing and they didn't appear to know what to do at all.
“They were very distressed and stayed close together. They allowed us to get within 20 feet of them and we followed them round.
“The smallest one had a piece of string round his head and nose. It was very tight around his nose. We watched him and he was able to move around but you couldn’t tell if he could eat.”
Miss Stanton, with the help of other farmers, helped to remove the string and it had left a “significant mark”.
The field was also unsuitable for the foals as it had been sprayed with pesticides three weeks earlier.
Miss Stanton added: “I think they had deliberately been left. A vehicle had driven through the gate and there were tyre marks.
“The vet had indicated that they were approximately three months old now so they were very young when they were left. “Hopefully they will make a full recovery.”
Vanessa Brown, applying for the order on behalf of Worcestershire County Council, told the court: “It was considered that they were suffering or likely to suffer if their circumstances did not change.”
The order granted by magistrates gave possession of the foals to a local horse sanctuary, allowed them to receive any veterinary treatment needed, including their destruction if necessary, and granted the foals with horse passports to allow their transportation.
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