CRUELLY abandoned horses at a Dudley nature reserve may have new hope if the community hears a call for help.
A campaigner is aiming to set up a friends group for Fens Pool Nature Reserve dedicated to making a range of improvements to the beauty spot.
The Pensnett Road site has become synonymous with horses tethered or roaming on the common land and in some cases left to starve or be violently abused by yobs.
The woman behind the friends group plan, Evelyn Bradley, said: “It’s an amazing place, a wonderful resource and such a beautiful spot in the middle of Pensnett and Brierley Hill.
“Some people see the suffering of the horses and it disturbs them, they feel intimidated by some people who are watching them and there have been incidents where people have been confronted.
“I hope members of the community will involved, enjoy Fens Pool and have their say about issues. I want Fens Pool to be a site everyone can enjoy going to.”
Horses being left to roam on public land, which has been dubbed fly-grazing, is a bigger headache for authorities at this time of year.
Cllr Tracy Wood, Dudley cabinet member for environment and culture, said: “Unfortunately the number of horses left in poor condition left by irresponsible owners tends to increase in the winter months so we also intend to adopt a more robust monitoring regime to help address animal welfare concerns on the Fens particularly.
“The council also regularly monitors the numbers of horses illegally fly grazing on council-owned land and periodically takes action through a separate retained horse bailiff with specific targeted impoundment activity.
“The most recent action was taken in November, when seven horses were seized, and currently the legal notices required have been posted at certain locations indicating the council’s intention to undertake further impoundment activity in the near future.”
The friends group scheme is yet to be officially launched and aims to tackle a variety of projects on the site, which is designated as being of special scientific interest.
Evelyn Bradley said: “This would empower people to get involved and give it back to the community rather than it being about certain individuals.”
The council also has to cope with horses loose on the streets around the site, animals are regularly removed from land near Russells Hall Hospital and school playing fields.
Cllr Wood said: “In response to stray horses who get onto the highway, the council has responded by developing a range of policies and services to help deal with the problem including the introduction of the reactive service to remove horses from the highway in partnership with the local police and a local horse removal contractor.
“Since 2011 there have been over 300 horses taken from the public highway using this service reducing the risk to pedestrians, motorists and horses alike, and this service is seen as a model system nationwide.”
To register an interest in joining a friends group for the Fens Pools and Buckpool reserve, email firstname.lastname@example.org