Woman 'frustrated' after RSPCA order to stop animal care

Christchurch woman ordered not to care for animals by RSPCA

Della Curtis along with other villagers have been feeding horses, a donkey and a donkey foal in Christchurch since November but have been told to stop by the RSPCA. - Credit: Della Curtis

A woman who has helped raise over £100 to look after animals she found in a Fenland field has been left frustrated after being told not to continue feeding them. 

Della Curtis noticed three horses, a donkey and a donkey foal in a field on Church Road, Christchurch in November, which she said were left unattended. 

After launching an appeal on the village’s Facebook discussion page to find the owner, Ms Curtis was approached by Nigel Russell, father of field owner Paul Russell and ex-chairman of Christchurch Parish Council. 

“He stated he was unhappy with me and the horses were nothing to do with him,” she said.   

“His son Paul had rented it out to a woman who had ‘glowing references’ from the RSPCA. I asked Nigel to speak to his son and find out why the owner wasn’t attending to them.” 

Villagers told to stop caring for animals by RSPCA

Some of the animals that Della Curtis and other villagers have been looking after before being ordered not to do so by the field owner and the RSPCA. - Credit: Della Curtis


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After a request for permission from Ms Curtis and other villagers to attend the animals on Mr Russell’s field was not answered, they began to clear the shelter which she said was “a metre full with muck and had a plastic bottle filled with human urine”. 

Ms Curtis said she then received “a barrage of abuse” from Mr Russell, who reported the group to Cambridgeshire police for trespassing on December 23. 

Christchurch woman told to stop animal care by RSPCA

Della Curtis, who has helped look after animals in a field in Christchurch, said the field had "at least 30 pieces of wood with nails scattered" while attending the shelter. - Credit: Della Curtis

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However, a police spokesperson said the RSPCA were informed and no further action was taken. 

“I have checked and they have good shelter. The reason I went mental was I told them to go and they shouted a dozen times,” Mr Russell said. 

“I said if she had a problem with the horses, she should go to the RSPCA. One of them took their shirt off and said ‘do you want a fight?’” 

Woman told to stop animal care by RSPCA

Della Curtis said the field shelter where the animals were living was filled with "a metre full of muck" and the field was "completely covered in horse faeces". - Credit: Della Curtis

Ms Curtis and other villagers have since been throwing food to the animals from the street. 

But after waiting several weeks for action, Ms Curtis was told by an RSPCA officer that the animals are healthy but must not be fed by the group any longer. 

“The RSPCA said unless they drop condition, they cannot do anything," she said.

“If the owner comes forward, we will go and buy whatever they need and if they don’t, the donations will be returned to everyone who donated. 

“I’m very unhappy and frustrated by this, but feel that we must be vigilant and report anything we feel is not right.”  

An RSPCA spokesperson added: "The RSPCA is aware of these horses and donkeys and we would like to reassure the public that we and another animal welfare charity have been to check on them to make sure they are okay and being cared for.  

"These horses and donkeys are owned, they are registered with and have recently been seen by a vet and have not been abandoned."

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