'Please don't feed the horses- it could kill them'- Bassetlaw Police sound warning to lockdown walkers

Bassetlaw Police are warning walkers of the dangers of feeding horses which could lead to them being put to sleep.

Thursday, 11th March 2021, 11:09 am
"I am urging people to stop feeding any equine that does not belong to them as this can cause serious illness and be potentially life threatening."

During the three national lockdowns, there has been an increase in people visiting rural areas in the district.

Although getting outside is encouraged, East Bassetlaw Police are warning walkers of the dangers of feeding horses and other livestock they might see in fields during their daily exercise.

Gareth Mitchell, rural beat manager and wildlife officer, said: “Throughout the last 12 months many of us have been enjoying the outdoors and when people encounter equines in fields they are tempted to feed them treats.

"These treats range from sweets, vegetables, fruit and even grass cuttings but I need to stress how dangerous this can be to them.

“I believe many people act with no malicious intent and are simply unaware of the risks that certain foods or grass cuttings can pose to the animals, but I am urging people to stop feeding any equine that does not belong to them as this can cause serious illness and be potentially life threatening.

"If you do not own the animal, or have permission of the owner, then do not feed the equines.

"Most of these animals are kept as pets and used for pleasure, rather than work, and I am sure that most of us do have a pet at home.

"So I request that people think about this- how would you feel if someone fed your own pet something which could potentially lead to the animal being put to sleep?

"If you have any questions or require further help with education or crime prevention advice, then please get in touch by ringing 101.”

Equines (which includes horses, ponies, donkeys, mules and hinnies) have a one way digestive tract and are unable to vomit.

This means that any food ingested has to pass through the animal and the risk of choking is high.

The owners of these animals keep them on a diet suitable for their health and sudden over feeding can lead to colic, bowel obstructions and even death as well as other health complications.

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