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Horse rescuers stables under threat
A horse rescuer says the future of his stables remains “in limbo”, renewing fears his animals may have to be put down.
Stanmer Horses owner Danny Cross said setbacks at Stanmer Park stables had made it “the most horrendous year of my life”.
Several horses suffered cuts and stab injuries in an attack last month while many others are depressed after being cooped up in the stables after the fences were broken.
Mr Cross, 37, said the terms of a proposed five-year lease were a long way to being agreed despite ongoing talks between him and site managers.
He was warned earlier this month he faced eviction from the site unless he managed to halve the number of horses kept.
Meanwhile a recent birth was complicated after taking place in the stables leading to the foal being starved of oxygen and requiring £1,000 worth of veterinary treatment.
Mr Cross estimates his first year running the stables has pushed him £30,000 into debt.
He said: “I am not being evicted but nothing has been agreed in black and white yet.
“In some ways it has been so awful, it has been the most horrendous year of my life.
“It’s very stressful still being in limbo.
“I am being advised to hold off but I need to see that something is actually in place.”
Last Friday he met with Smiths Gore, who manage the site on behalf of Brighton and Hove City Council, but he is still waiting for confirmation of draft terms.
Mr Cross will not have to vacate by July 17 but said issues remained over who was responsible for a £15,000 repair bill for fences broken during the attack.
The horseman is still without a car to transport his animals around at the moment after the brake cables on his vehicle were cut during the same incident.
And with fences currently down Mr Cross says it is having a negative effect on the animals. Many of the horses cannot be turned out and are becoming depressed by being cooped up.
A Brighton and Hove City Council spokesman said: “Our agents had a constructive meeting with Mr Cross on Friday.
“Negotiations are continuing with regard to his request for a longer term lease.”
Record numbers of horses are abandoned across the UK each day, causing the RSPCA to launch a campaign.
Sussex had one of the highest numbers of horses rescued by the RSPCA last year.
To support the rescue centre, donations can be made via Stanmer Preservation Society at www.stanmer.org.uk/membershipanddonations.php.