More people are coming forward to report the abuse and mistreatment of horses than ever before.
SEPRONA, the nature protection service of the Guardia Civil, said it has seen a rise in cases including abandonment where animals have been left to starve to death.
Salvador Ortega, who heads SEPRONA, said he was “surprised” by the latest figures.
But the co-founder of the Easy Horse Care Rescue Centre in Rojales, Sue Weeding, said she believes a greater awareness of the importance of animal rights, some of it from politicians, has led to more reporting of the problem.
“There has been a change in the way people think and act on animal abuse.
“In the early days no-one wanted to know and would look the other way. Thankfully, more people are reporting cases to the police and they are acting on it.”
But Sue said it was important that anyone who saw cases of abuse or suspected it was taking place, made a formal complaint or denuncia to the authorities first.
This would give the police and other agencies grounds on which to take action, she said. “We are not seeing such horrific cases now as what we did, but again I think this is because people and police are taking action sooner before the horses become so mistreated.”
SEPRONA has reported that in the first half of 2016 its officers dealt with a total of 380 cases of animal abuse resulting in more than 200 people being arrested.
Sue said that despite their pivotal role in the care of abused and mistreated animals, they still receive no government funding and instead they are forced to rely on donations from the public and the work volunteers.