THE owner of two horses taken away by the council following welfare concerns says he has given them up.

Shane Smith was left angered last week after Worcester City Council authorised his two animals to be impounded.

They had been left grazing on council- owned grassland along Wainwright Road in Warndon Villages, Worcester.

But Mr Smith, who is 23 and lives in Offerton Lane, Worcester, says it was too much of a rigmarole to get them back.

They could now be sold at auction should they not be claimed.

"I'm going to let them keep them," said Mr Smith.

"They wanted me to provide them with a lot of paperwork and money to get them back.

"I'll be really sorry to see them go. It's horrible really."

Your Worcester News reported last Saturday that Worcester City Council authorised an external company, Equine and Land Management, to remove the animals under the Animals Act 1971.

“There was a lot of concern from the public about the horses,” said a council spokesperson.

She said this included welfare worries and fears the horses may stray into the road.

Meanwhile, a petition calling for action to be taken to help the animals, before they were impounded, attracted more than 1,500 signatures.

Animal care and photography student Bethany Shipsey, from Worcester, set up the petition after becoming worried about the condition of the horses.

"I still want answers as to why the owners thought this was an acceptable way to keep them and I would like the laws to be changed about keeping the animals," she said.

She added she had been on a number of volunteer trips to Africa to help poorly-treated animals but was shocked to see such problems at her front door.

“I found out about the horses last year when I rescued a Shetland pony that was found wandering the roads,” she said, adding she gave it back to the owners when she found out who was responsible for it.

A Worcester City Council spokesperson said: "We are now in a two week period whereby the owner can come forward to claim them."

The spokesperson added the animals are normally put up for auction if not claimed within that period.