HORSES have been pelted with stones and marbles and had their legs tied together in malicious attacks on paddocks in Fawley.
The parish council has been left horrified by the incidents which have taken place at the horse fields it leases to equestrian owners opposite Gang Warily recreation centre in Newlands Road.
Speaking to the A&T, parish clerk Steve Postlethwaite explained there had been “minor ongoing problems” all year round at the site, which comprises several paddocks. But, in recent weeks, there have been more serious incidents.
These included two of them – one each from two separate paddocks – being found by a dog walker with their legs tied together, leaving them unable to walk. Equestrian equipment from the site had been used to restrain them.
“As a parish council we’re horrified that people feel this type of behaviour is acceptable,” Mr Postlethwaite said.
“Whether they realise that what they’re doing causes distress to the horses or not, it causes distress to the owners. I would also say that this is an offence of cruelty to animals.
“There has previously been kids going into the fields, chasing the horses around and messing with the gates, but this is the first time I’ve heard that it has escalated to the horses actually being affected.”
Other recent incidents near Gang Warily have included stones and marbles being thrown and catapults fired at the horses, although it is understood none have required veterinary treatment as a result.
Rugs for keeping them warm have been unfastened and removed, hay has been tampered with and hosepipes cut.
On 31st January and again on Saturday, horses were found to have escaped onto the road after fencing had been cut. On both occasions, tenants and helpful passers-by were able to safely herd them back into their paddocks.
Highlighting the fact that the fields have easy public access with footpaths running between the paddocks, Mr Postlethwaite argued that someone must have seen something.
He called for owners of livestock affected by such issues, whether at the same site or elsewhere, to alert police immediately.
Facebook users took to the comments section to vent their anger at what has been happening.
One wrote: “How awful that people can do this to innocent animals. Hope they get caught.”
Another posted: “Why! I just can’t understand the stupidity of some people. There can’t be any satisfaction in harming a beautiful animal.”
Witnesses can contact Hampshire police on 101, quoting crime reference number 44200053101, or call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111. Alternatively, call the parish council on 023 8089 0761.