POLICE and RSPCA officials have explained why no action was taken after a tethered horse was found dead on a roadside verge near York.

They said there was no evidence of cruelty and neglect when the horse died at the side of the A166 at Holtby, between York and Stamford Bridge, earlier this month.

The development comes after a year in which several tethered horses have broken free and run on to roads in the York area, with some of them being struck and killed by vehicles.

Seven people are also due to be sentenced next month after admitting animal welfare offences involving seven ponies tethered on roadsides.

Officers are due to brief City of York Council’s Cabinet early next month on a proposed new strategy for tackling the tethered horse problem.

North Yorkshire Police said officers went to Holtby after the force received a number of calls from people who had seen the dead animal.

“There was no indication how the horse had died; there was no evidence of any cruelty or neglect,” said a force spokeswoman. The RSPCA was contacted and all details given; they would not attend unless any evidence of neglect, cruelty or suffering.”

She said the owner told police the horse was called Blackie, was two years old and was in foal.

“The horse was tethered, and there was no evidence that prior to its death it had been thrashing about or any soreness around the head collar,” she said. “It just looked like it had laid down and died.

“As far as we were concerned, there was no investigation. There was no evidence of any problems, so there was no police or RSPCA investigation.”

She said the owner made arrangements for disposal of the body.

An RSPCA spokeswoman said she had spoken to the inspector involved in the matter, and this case had been “purely a police investigation.” She said: “The police who attended did speak with us, but told us there was no sign of suspicious circumstances or anything to be concerned about.”