THE RSPCA has claimed the country is in the grip of a horse crisis as it investigates the case of two “neglected” animals seized from boggy land in York.

The charity said a member of the public had called it before Christmas to say the horses were tethered on boggy ground with no access to food.

“An inspector visited the field twice to try and locate the owners and returned with a police officer who seized the horses and signed them over to the RSPCA’s care,” said a spokeswoman.

“Investigations are continuing. Sadly the country is currently in the grip of a horse crisis with some 800 neglected and abused equines in our care despite only having 120 rescue places.”

A York woman, who called the charity after seeing the animals tethered on rough ground between the A1036, Malton Road, and Straylands Grove, said she wished to commend the way the RSPCA officer handled the matter.

“Having no equestrian knowledge, I sought advice whether the treatment of the horses, tethered on the same patch of poor, boggy pasture for at least three days, with no recourse to shelter from freezing conditions, no evidence of supplementary feeding, no dry area to rest/sleep, and certainly no opportunity to exercise, constituted neglect,” the woman said said.

“The horses did not look underfed, and their neck halters seemed comfortable.

“If reassurance had been given by an experienced officer that these animals were not suffering, I would have accepted their situation, albeit reluctantly.”

The woman said the officer phoned her back one evening to say she had visited the site and was tracing the owners to request the horses received extra feed, and shelter.

She later called again to let her know the horses had been seized and the case was now subject to investigation.

“This was welcome and encouraging news,” she said.

“My whole family was delighted to know some action had been taken to afford these animals basic comfort by a conscientious RSPCA officer, at a time when the emphasis for many was the festive season.”

The charity spokeswoman said: “We are very grateful to the member of the public who called us with their concerns and are happy to hear she is pleased with the way the inspector dealt with the incident.”