World Horse Welfare are warning owners who can no longer afford to keep horses and subsequently loan them out or retire them may actually just be giving them away to someone who will sell them on without your knowing.
The charity has recently been contacted by members of the public who have loaned out their horses to people they trusted which have then been sold on for slaughter.
In early 2012 Trading Standards successfully tackled a case of animal fraud in North Yorkshire which involved 24-year-old Brooke Lee of Roebuck Lane, Otley who acquired other people’s horses, pretending they would be given a loving permanent home, but then sold them on for slaughter.
One of the victims of Miss Lee’s unscrupulous actions was Hazel Walker from Ackworth, West Yorkshire, who loaned her horse, Joe, to Brooke Lee in May last year;
“Almost a week after I had loaned out Joe to Brooke Lee I received a call from a woman saying she had seen him at Melton Mowbray horse sales. The following day I went to Brooke Lee’s field and Joe wasn’t there. For more than a week I was constantly calling Brooke Lee but she would never answer. I then got a text from another woman saying she had bought Joe off a dealer but he was lame so took him back. I eventually managed to get the name of the dealer who told me he’d sold Joe to a slaughter house. I called the slaughter house continuously for several days but no one would answer. When I eventually got through, the man told me Joe had been shot the day before.”
If you are considering loaning or giving away your horse, Trading Standards offer the following advice:
• Always check that the name and address given by the borrower actually exists. If possible visit them at home.
• Insist that the passport is updated before the horse leaves you if you are giving it away and post it to the Passport Issuing Organisation (PIO) yourself.
• Download a loan agreement from the BHS website after verifying that the details they have given are correct. You then have proof of ownership.
• Should the horse go missing inform the PIO immediately along with the police and the National Equine Database at www.nedonline.co.uk
• Try to make regular visits to ensure all is well. If this is not practical, try to maintain telephone or email contact.
World Horse Welfare also suggests that you check the borrower’s reputation on equine forums or among your friends. It is also a good idea to Google their phone number and address to ensure they are who they say they are. You may also want to ask for references.
If you are considering BUYING a horse, to ensure the legitimacy of the horse and horse owner we have our own top 10 tips for buying a horse: –
1. Decide what you need.
2. Never buy unseen.
3. Bring an experienced horse person with you.
4. Check identification.
5. Get the horse vetted.
6. Make sure the horse is fit for purpose.
7. Ensure the vendor is reputable.
8. Beware of return agreements.
9. Get a written receipt.
10. And most importantly …. Always consider the cost and commitment.