A SOUTH Ockendon woman is campaigning for harsher punishments for those who abuse and kill horses.

Donna Burnett, 27, said she has seen an increase in horses with horrific injuries being dumped in Thurrock, and is frustrated at the response from the RSPCA and the police.

Before Christmas, Donna reported two incidents near her yard in Dunnings Lane, Bulphan.

She found a dead horse which had been cut up and left in a ditch, and a horse which appeared to have had its eye gouged, tied to a gate and abandoned.

Donna said: “You ring the RSPCA and they tell you to ring the police, and then you ring the police and they tell you to call the RSPCA. No-one ever wants to come and deal with it.”

Donna said after many calls the police did come out to see the horse which was tied up, but they told Donna there was nothing they could do as it was classed as “damaged property”, and the poor horse had to be put to sleep two hours later as its injuries were so bad.

Donna is now supporting a petition set up by a friend which says the Animal Welfare Act of 2006 is “too lenient on perpetrators of violent and abhorrent acts of cruelty against animals” as it offers a maximum sentence of six months imprisonment.

The Criminal Damage Act of 1971 carries a ten-year maximum sentence for those who kill an animal belonging to another, but isn’t available to those who kill their own animal.

Donna said: “We are just really fed up with what is happening. “We are aiming to get at least 100,000 signatures on the petition so it can be discussed in Parliament.”

The Gazette reported in November how an Aveley woman was left outraged when the RSPCA failed to come out to an abandoned horse which had gaping wounds on its neck.

The pony, which was in excruciating pain, was left overnight with maggot infested wounds, and had to be put down the next day.

The RSPCA apologised for the way the resident’s calls were handled.

In May 2011, we reported the shocking case of a horse which was sexually assaulted and brutally hacked to death after thugs broke into a stable in Stifford Hill, Grays.

Four people were arrested in connection with the offence and were initially charged with offences including criminal damage and aggravated burglary, but no further action was eventually taken against them.

To sign the petition, which has more than 600 signatures so far, log on to epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/34320