Tintern horse charity, Happa hit by false accusations of cruelty
7:10am Thursday 10th January 2013 in News
AN ANIMAL welfare charity says it was forced to close its doors following false allegations that it had been killing horses at the site.
As we reported last week, Happa in Brockweir near Tintern shut down over Christmas, sparking fury from some members of the public.
Now a spokeswoman of the charity, which is based at Gregory Farm, said the rumours had led to staff being verbally abused despite there being no truth in them.
She added: “We were aware of false allegations about the euthanasia of horses.
“There was no direct threat, but we thought there may be a risk from well-meaning people taking matters into their own hands and they may have removed the horses.”
Several horses have now been moved to the charity’s other site in Burnley, Lancashire.
“The horses that have moved to our Burnley site are fit and well,” she added.
She alleged the centre’s staff were victims of “verbal abuse” in the time leading up to the closure, which is still described as “temporary”.
However, the spokeswoman said it is likely to be months rather than weeks, as an internal consultation process is completed.
Happa has around 70 horses and ponies out on loan in the area and that agreement will continue, according to the charity.
The spokeswoman said people who have adopted an animal from the centre, receiving updates about it, can continue or opt out.
The spokeswoman said the RSPCA had not been involved in the matter.
She said there was enough room for the new horses at Burnley.
Ruth Sinfield, chairwoman of the Save Gregory Farm action group, said questions still remained.
“People from the community have been asking for information for some time about specific horses and they are not giving that information.
“Some of the horses have health problems and because of blaming the community for closing it, people think they have something to hide.
“We think the staff do a great job, we just want it cleared up and know where we stand,” she added.