Letters, Thursday, October 17, 2013

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Time to take action on tethered horses

I LIVE in Houghton, and on council-owned land between Mulberry Way and Burnside Avenue, there are three tethered horses.

 Two of these horses have now been tethered for 12 months and were out in last year’s bad winter.

 They only survived because of local people feeding them and providing straw and water.

 The RSPCA was called out several times but always said that the horses were not “bad” enough for them to take action and prosecute the owners.

 The reason they were not bad enough was the actions of people feeding and caring for them.

 I always thought that the P in RSPCA meant prevention and not prosecution!

 A notice appeared recently from Sunderland City Council telling the owners to remove their horses in 24 hours or the council would instigate proceedings, remove the horses and charge the owners.

 I was happy with this action, but on Monday, the horses are still there.

 I phoned the number on the notice today and spoke to a young lady. She admitted that the council had no policy and no funding to take any action. She also admitted that the notice was an empty threat.

 Well, the horse owners have, well and truly, called the council’s bluff.

 In recent weeks I have read about Northumberland County Council, Gateshead Council and Durham County Council all taking positive, proactive action and removing horses and charging owners when they can identify them.

 This young lady said she did not know who the owners of these three horses are. But she then said that one of the local councillors was approached by the owners asking for permission to leave the horses on council land.

 I do not think for one minute the councillor gave permission, but the point, lost on this young lady, was that someone knows who the owners are. A simple phone call to the councillor would give her the information she requires to do her job.

 She also stated that Sunderland City Council was “18 months behind Durham County Council” in dealing with the problem of tethered horses.

 No-one seems prepared to take responsibility. RSPCA not interested, Northumbria Police not interested and Sunderland City Council unable, or unwilling, to act. Surely the council tax payers of Sunderland deserve a better service, especially when neighbouring authorities seem to be much better organised and prepared to take positive action?

Stephen Raine,

Houghton.

What’s so Great about Britain?

WHENEVER there’s a story on the internet about the country going down the toilet, you can guarantee there’ll be at least a few comments along the lines of “we used to be GREAT Britain” or “time to put the GREAT back in Britain”.

 Do these people not know that the Great in Great Britain has got nothing to to with how amazing the country is, or was?  

 Great Britain refers to the island of England, Scotland and Wales – Greater Britain – that’s all. If these people are so patriotic, you think they could learn a bit of history about their country.

Henry Cavendish,

Sunderland.

Can you help with student project?

I AM a media student at Sunderland University and as part of the course, we are required to pitch an idea to the BBC. We are hoping to pitch a feature that celebrates 21 years of Sunderland’s city status.

We would like to hear your stories about Sunderland as you remember it. How has the city changed in the last 21 years? What was it like before 1992? Did your favourite place in town close down? Where was it? What’s there now?

 We need your stories to help showcase Sunderland’s history, as the locals know it, not how the history books tell it, as well as any old photos.

 Hopefully, these stories will be broadcast on BBC Radio Newcastle before the end of the year.

 Contact Chris via email at chrisbevan1@live.co.uk, or by phone at 07793133278.

Chris Bevan.