Local people have condemned a council as ‘wicked’ after it had two horses shot dead because they had entered a park unsupervised.
The animals were killed after police were called to Leavesden Country Park in Hertfordshire following reports of horses being on the loose in the area.
Police along with the workers for the Three Rivers District Council then spent four hours attempting to capture them.
When they couldn’t, the decisions was made to shoot the pair and a gun wielding man riding a quad bike was deployed.
“I saw it all. The police and council didn’t know what they were doing,” an unnamed local farmer told The Daily Mail.
“They spent two hours chasing the horses about which just made them more agitated. Had they just left them to calm down they would have been fine eventually.
“Instead they brought this man in who was following the horses around on a quad bike. He shot both animals in the head. It was wicked.”
The manager at a local riding centre added that he did not understand why the council or police didn’t ask for professional help. "The reason people are so angry is because they didn’t even bother to dart them," he told The Mail.
The The RSPCA said it had not been contacted by the council during the incident either.
Three Rivers District Council spokesperson claimed that efforts had been made to locate the owners of the horses, but no one came forward.
Rebecca Emmett, Head of Regulatory Services said the horses had to be killed as they were a danger to the public.
“Two unregistered stray horses which were galloping unsupervised in the Country Park were put down following a four hour attempt by the police and the district council to capture them,” she told The Watford Observer.
“The horses were an immediate danger to dog walkers and to children in the park and were at risk of straying onto the A41, Woodside Road, East Lane or College Road.
"The decision to put down the horses was made reluctantly in the interests of the safety of the public. This was undertaken quickly and humanely under careful supervision."
But local resident Sally Weston, who saw the horses while walking her two dogs, told The Mail that she felt there was “was absolutely no need” to kill the animals.