A RESIDENT has hit out at the RSPCA which he says dismissed his concerns about a group of ponies he believes have been abandoned in a field near to his home.

Robert Garner, of Church Road, Prestolee, says the three ponies have been living in the field, between the River Irwell, and Manchester, Bolton and Bury Canal towpath, for about two-and-a-half years.

However, it was not until earlier this year that Mr Garner, aged 61, became concerned at what he described as the ‘appalling’ conditions the ponies were living in.

Along with a neighbour, he has been feeding them carrots and giving them water for the past few weeks.

But, he says that when he shared his concerns with the RSPCA, they told him there was nothing they could do as the ponies were being fed.

He said: “Of course we are going to feed them. It’s not our responsibility, but we do because we love animals.

“I buy three packs of carrots a day and come and feed them.

“I know nothing about horses, but the RSPCA don’t want anything to do with it. They have not even been down.

“They’ve done it all over the phone.”

He says that he fears that if something is not done soon, the ponies may not last the winter.

He added: “There is a shed at the bottom, which is supposed to be a stable.

“All three of them have to live in there, but they don’t go in because there’s no door to keep them warm.

“Last year one was on the ground because it was freezing cold. I thought ‘I bet they have been abandoned’, so I put a sign up for the owner saying if nothing was done to clean the animals then the RSPCA would get called. That sign is still there.

“A few weeks ago, the small white one got stuck in the mud and I had to pull it out.

“They are so dirty and the grass isn’t growing so all they would be eating is dirt if it wasn’t for us. They are such nice animals and it is killing me to see them like this. “They are such nice animals. I don’t want to wake up over winter and see them dead in that field.”

An RSPCA spokesman said: “We are aware of concerns for two ponies kept in a field in Prestolee and two RSPCA officers visited them on Thursday morning.

“The ponies appeared to be in a good condition, with access to shelter, water, and grazing and their feet appeared to have been attended to.

“The officers were able to speak to the owner to confirm the horses have not been abandoned and that they will continue to receive care.”