Tethered by law

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x In response to the Whispering Smith column (Gazette, January 8), the RSPCA is very much aware of the horse tethered on Yapton Road.

We, along with other equine charities, have been out to this horse on many occasions and readers should be assured that we will continue to respond to concerns about his welfare.

The RSPCA does not believe that tethering is a suitable method of long-term management of an animal, but it is not against the law. The RSPCA, as the caller was correctly advised by West Sussex County Council, has no authority to deal with animals which are tethered, as long as their needs are being met. We are only able to ask the police to remove an animal that a vet has confirmed is suffering.

Sadly, this situation is not uncommon. The country is currently in the grip of a horse crisis, with the RSPCA and other horse welfare charities struggling to cope. The RSPCA alone has more than 600 horses in its care and receives about 500 complaints relating to horse welfare every week.

Our cruelty and advice line – 0300 1234 999 – operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and we receive more than 1.3m calls every year. For this reason, we ask people to be patient, to choose the right option for them from the automated menu and if they then still wish to report an animal in need, they will be put through to someone.

Sophie Wilkinson, RSPCA regional media manager

Wilberforce Way

Southwater

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