A dozen horses have been left abandoned on council land after their owners failed to comply with official warnings to remove them.
Wellingborough Council issued official notices last week giving owners seven days to remove horses which had illegally been left to graze on council-owned land in the Redwell and Hemmingwell areas of the town.
By the time the deadline arrived on Wednesday morning, 13 had been removed but 12 had been left by their owners in land off Niort Way. They will now be removed by the council.
The local authority introduced a zero-tolerance policy this year after a number of incidents where horses had wandered into residential areas.
Cllr Peter Morrall said: “It’s such a shame the horses have not been taken away by their owners. They don’t appear to be in a good state so they will now be taken off to a better home.
“We agreed back in May to get tough on this and after making all the necessary arrangements we served notices telling the owners they needed to remove them, or we would. A number of tethered horses have gone, but there are still quite a few left grazing loose in council-owned fields. Specialist contractors will come in and take the horses away.”
The council will try to rehome the horses, preferably with equine charities or private individuals. If it’s not possible to re-home them, the horses could be sold at market or auction. The owners can reclaim the horses if they pay a fee to cover council costs.
It is not proposed to use euthanasia, unless a horse is very sick or seriously injured, and that decision would be made by a vet and not by the council or its contractor.
Cllr Morrall said: “We were hoping serving the notices would solve the problem, but there are still some horses left.
“Obviously there’s nothing to stop more horses appearing on the land, but evidence suggests once owners are aware we mean business, the number of incidents requiring removal will drop significantly.”
Wellingborough Council does not own the land near the Embankment where horses often graze.