World Horse Welfare warns of rogue horse traders

By Larissa Chapman

General news

10 February 2012 12:02

World Horse Welfare is urging horse owners to think twice before loaning or giving their horse away to a supposedly good home as we hear about more and more cases where they have been sold on, or even slaughtered.

The charity are warning horse owners to be aware of rogue dealers offering horses homes for life, but then selling them on through public and private sales.  This is causing great heartache for the original owners.

World Horse Welfare has recently been contacted by members of the public who have loaned out their horses to people they trusted which have then been sold on for slaughter.  This includes Jemma Dorey-Jones and her horse Bella.  Due to lack of time and financial difficulties Jemma gave Bella to a local man to look after but recently found out that he sold Bella for slaughter.  Jemma says: “I put my upmost trust in this man and he led me to believe that he was genuine and would keep in contact if he could re-home Bella; that would give me the opportunity to assess the possible new owner for myself.

“Having spent much of my time trying to ring and contact this man, he would rarely answer the phone until the day came when he told me he had sold her but wouldn’t give me any further details.  Since finding out this information, I was cruelly awakened to the evidence issued on the National Equine Database (NED) website that my beautiful Bella is now deceased.

“The police have been informed and this man will walk free and keep profiting from others misery.  I will forever hold guilt and heartbreak for my stupidity of being taken in by this man.  I only hope I can warn others when trusting people by loaning out their horses.”

Only last week Trading Standards successfully tackled a case of animal fraud in North Yorkshire which involved 24 year-old Brooke Lee of Roebuck Lane, Otley who acquired other people’s horses, pretending they would be given a loving permanent home, but then sold them on for slaughter.

Matt Boxall, Trading Standards Manager at City of York Council, said: “Miss Lee tricked people into giving her their horses – horses which at their stage in life, needed to take things easy.  The lies she told led the owners to believe they were doing the right thing for their animals, that they would be loved and cared for forever.  Instead they were simply sold on to unsuspecting customers.”

If you are considering loaning or giving away your horse, Trading Standards offer the following advice:

·         Always check that the name and address given by the borrower actually exists.  If possible visit them at home.

·         Insist that the passport is updated before the horse leaves you if you are giving it away and post it to the Passport Issuing Organisation yourself.

·         Download a loan agreement from the BHS website after verifying that the details they have given are correct.  You then have proof of ownership.

·         Should the horse go missing inform the PIO immediately along with the police and the National Equine Database at

·         Try to make regular visits to ensure all is well. If this is not practical, try to maintain telephone or email contact.

World Horse Welfare also suggest that you check the borrower’s reputation on equine forums or among your friends.  It is also a good idea to Google their phone number and address to ensure they are who they say they are.  You may also want to ask for references. 

If you are considering BUYING a horse, to ensure the legitimacy of the horse and horse owner we have our own top 10 tips for buying a horse:

1.    Decide what you need.

2.    Never buy unseen.

3.    Bring an experienced horse person with you.

4.    Check identification.

5.    Get the horse vetted.

6.    Make sure the horse is fit for purpose.

7.    Ensure the vendor is reputable.

8.    Beware of return agreements.

9.    Get a written receipt.

10.  And Most Importantly …. Always consider the cost and commitment.

For more information on World Horse Welfare’s top 10 tips for buying a horse please visit our website at

World Horse Welfare also has lots of advice for horse owners about euthanasia and how to be prepared if you need to have your horse put to sleep.  To help inform your decision, and to prepare yourself if you intend to be there, you can find out more from our Just In Case initiative at