Three “starving” horses removed from a Fife farm this week have been put to sleep on animal welfare grounds.
The horses were part of a group of 21 taken from the farm after their owner – ‘horse whisperer’ Anne MacGregor, who claims to use new age techniques to talk to the animals – called the SSPCA to say she could no longer look after them.
One horse had already been destroyed prior to the SSPCA stepping in to take custody of the animals, meaning four of her 22 animals are now dead.
On Wednesday, Scottish SPCA chief inspector John Chisholm said: “We can confirm that one horse was put to sleep last week on welfare grounds.
“When we removed the other horses yesterday, all were independently assessed by a vet.
“It was mutually agreed by the vet and representatives from both the Scottish SPCA and World Horse Welfare that it would be in the best interests of three of the horses to be put to sleep on welfare grounds.
“This is not a decision that was taken lightly.”
The SSPCA removed 21 horses from Highfield Equestrian at Howe Farm near Cupar on Tuesday after reports of “animal neglect”.
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.
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It is understood the horses were previously stabled in Milnathort and on farms in Perthshire.
MacGregor ran a business charging for “animal healing” sessions, which were supposed to help people dealing with mental health issues.
She also claimed to be able to tell what a horse was feeling and charged between £24 and £45 to look at a photograph of a horse and provide advice.
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.”
MacGregor has not responded to The Courier’s requests for comment.