A TEENAGE horse trainer claims she has been left devastated after her beloved charge was removed by the Scottish SPCA over allegations of abuse.
Allana Evans, 15, was returning from the Currie Riding of the Marches earlier this month when Scottish SPCA officers demanded to examine Humphrey, a retired racehorse, on the grounds of a report she had been witnessed “abusing” the animal.
It is claimed officers later removed him from his stables without providing the necessary documentation or consulting the animal’s usual vet.
Humphrey’s owner, Joe Ward, 36, said: “Allana has cared for Humphrey for years and has never been anything other than loving. There were dozens of people with her that day and no-one has told me they saw anything untoward.”
Mr Ward claims Scottish SPCA officers swooped when Allana was attempting to load Humphrey back into his horsebox.
He said: “Humphrey was spooked when he was nearly hit by another horsebox leaving the event, so it took about 40 minutes to load him.
“The SSPCA arrived just as he was finally in and when they ordered Allana to take him out again she refused. They then followed her back to the stables.
“Allana called me in quite a state and when I asked to speak to the inspector I was told Humphrey was being removed because he was lame on three legs and had a massive heart murmur.
“The SSPCA then took Humphrey away and have refused to return him, despite him having been given a clean bill of health.”
Mr Ward added: “We are all devastated.”
The Scottish SPCA confirmed the horse had been removed “due to welfare concerns”.
Scottish SPCA chief superintendent Mike Flynn said: “This horse is under veterinary care and our inquiries are on-going. The owner is aware of the situation and the welfare issues.”
However, the director of the Scottish Association of Country Sports, which provides legal aid to members charged with an offence, suggested changes in the law could be leading animal charities to “abuse” their power.
Ian Clark said: “I have helped members in similar situations. The law was recently changed to allow them [the SSPCA] to act to prevent suffering, whereas before they could only act once an animal was already suffering. They are now appearing to abuse this new power.”