More than 20 “starving” animals have been removed from the care of their “horse whisperer” owner in Fife.
The SSPCA confirmed it had removed 21 horses from Highfield Equestrian at Howe Farm near Cupar after reports of “animal neglect”.
They are understood to have belonged to “holistic horse whisperer” Anne MacGregor, 48, who claims to act as an interpreter between horses and their owners to tell them what the animal is thinking and feeling.
One source with knowledge of the animals said they were “starving” and some were “skin and bones”.
The source said they had seen workers “brought to tears” when they saw the horses without coats for the first time.
Sources said there were initially 22 horses in the group, but one was in such a poor state a vet had to put it down.
The Scottish SPCA will now rehome the horses, but some may still have to be destroyed.
Staff from the animal welfare charity removed the horses on Tuesday and are now deciding whether charges should be brought against MacGregor over failing to care for the animals.
Scottish SPCA chief inspector John Chisholm said the 21 horses had been removed in response to reports of “animal neglect”.
He said: “We have worked constructively with all parties involved to successfully remove the animals. As this is an ongoing investigation, we are unable to provide any further details at this time.”
Tom Myles, owner of the Fife farm, said he had offered MacGregor stable space on a “do it yourself” livery basis from January 4 this year.
He said he had been unable to tell much about the condition of the horses at the start as they arrived wearing coats, but he became suspicious after the first week when MacGregor stopped showing up at the farm to attend to them.
He said: “We raised our concerns to Anne who assured us she would find helpers to look after them – these helpers did not appear and so our concerns grew more.
“Through pressure from ourselves Anne realised she was unable to look after them and contacted the SSPCA.”
It’s understood the horses were previously stabled in Milnathort and on farms in Perthshire.
Vicki Fairbairn, a bookkeeper for Balmuick Farm, Comrie, said MacGregor had been asked to leave that farm due to issues with livery bills.
MacGregor, whose sessions cost between £24 and £45, did not respond to The Courier’s request for comment.