ALLOTMENT holders have hit out at an animal charity over concerns for three horses they believe are being neglected.
Gardeners at East View allotments in Boldon contacted the RSPCA after discovering the animals on one of the plots.
For the past three months, allotment holders have been leaving hay for the horses after thinking they were being neglected and were not being fed or watered.
They contacted the RSPCA but were told the animal charity was powerless to act while the horses were being fed and watered.
One allotment holder, who didn’t want to be named, said: “We told the RSPCA the horses were being neglected and that people were feeding them. They came out and told us to stop feeding them, left a letter and said they would be back in a few days to take them away.
“We did as we were told, but when they came back they didn’t take the horses.
“Obviously we all started to feed them again as we don’t want them to starve to death – how can we?”
The RSPCA said while it appreciates the public helping animals they believe are being neglected, it leaves the charity unable to prove they are being failed by their owners.
A spokeswoman added: “We have had a number of calls about this and have been to the location with a vet who has found that, at that time, there wasn’t sufficient grounds to have these horses taken into possession by police.
“This can only happen on vet advice where they consider the animal to be suffering or its needs not being met contrary with the Animal Welfare Act.
“Our inspector issued advice to the owner of the horses – who doesn’t own the plot which the horses are on – which has been acted upon.
“Since then it has been left in the hands of the local authority who are the allotment holders.”
A spokesman for South Tyneside Council said: “We are in regular contact with the RSPCA about the horses and RSPCA officers have attended the site to check on their welfare. The tethering or grazing of animals is not permitted on this plot and we have contacted the owner of the horses to order that they be removed.”