Concern for horse near Skegness in charity picture

A picture taken by a villager which shows the horse to have severe sunburn. ANL-170626-170139001
A picture taken by a villager which shows the horse to have severe sunburn. ANL-170626-170139001

Villagers have criticised the use of a picture to promote the Addaction charity’s involvement in the recovery of a drug addict, which featured a horse that had been suffering from sunburn.

The image showed a former Addaction service user who was looking after horses during her recovery process.

The picture provided by Addaction which does not show the horse's face. ANL-170626-170309001

The picture provided by Addaction which does not show the horse's face. ANL-170626-170309001

But, villagers in Hogsthorpe – where the horses are housed – said the pictures should not have been used because the RSPCA had been called in to support the horse featured in the picture, and others kept in the same field.

Debbie Willson, who owns a nearby livery stable, said a local farmer, who also keeps horses nearby, had been trying to help over the winter by providing the horses with some food.

The charity Addaction has now issued an apology for not being aware of the problem and the RSPCA has said they have been working with the owner ‘for several weeks’ and are happy with the outcome of that work.

The editorial provided by Addaction appeared in the Skegness Standard on June 7 and included a picture which the charity says was submitted to them.

Mrs Willson, of Helsey Farm, said: “We saw the article with the horse’s owner who had been a heroin addict praising the charity for her getting off drugs and ‘enjoying life in the fresh air and 
countryside’ and the horse she ‘was proud to buy last year’, but there was clearly a problem with the welfare of the horse.

“There was clearly a problem with the welfare of the horse whose face was hidden in the picture.

“There has been a problem with the welfare of the horses for months.

“This shouldn’t have been allowed to happen.

“There’s no excuse for horses to be allowed to get into this state.”

A spokesman for Addaction said: “We take this matter seriously and will be investigating this incident as a formal complaint.

“Addaction is a drug, alcohol and mental health treatment charity.

“The story in question focused on the recovery journey of a former service user which used an image sent to us.

“We were unaware of RSPCA involvement or harm to any animal involved – had we been, we would not have used the image and would have made our concerns known.

“We hope that the animals in question now receive the support they need from the RSPCA.”

An RSPCA spokesperson said: “We have been working with the owner of these horses for several weeks.

“The owner has complied with all of the advice given and all three of the horses are now in good body condition.

“One horse – a grey mare – has been signed over to the RSPCA for rehoming.

“The other two horses – a coloured gelding and a dark bay mare – remain in the care of their owner.

“The coloured gelding is under veterinary treatment for a nasty sunburn.

“He has been moved to a different location, is on 
antibiotics, wearing suncream and is healing well.”