Two horses were killed in a police and council-led operation following a long-running dispute between a family and the authority.
Officers swooped on playing fields at the rear of Linda Hallf’s property where horses, chickens and goats are kept.
They rounded up eight horses and a donkey and took them to a sanctuary, but Walsall Council confirmed today two horses were put down.
A statement released by Walsall Council and Walsall Police claimed the horses which were killed were untamed and posed a ‘real and significant threat to public safety’ after roaming on to a public highway.
Mrs Hallf, of Warner Road, Coalpool, Walsall, says the family is devastated about the drama which unfolded on the Whateley Road playing fields. She said: “We received a letter saying the council wanted the land and giving us instructions to vacate. The letter was dated June 7 but we only received it on Thursday.
“We have lived here for 30 years and have always had horses and stables on a part of the field. We keep it clean and tidy and kids love to come and play with the animals.
“I received a call from one of my neighbours who told me the horses had been shot. I have been in bits all day, my grandchildren are devastated.” The couple, who have 31 grandchildren, have been embroiled in a dispute with the council in recent months over who owns the land.
Mrs Hallf, aged 59, added: “We are doing nobody any harm by having stables and animals on that field. We make sure they are fenced in.”
A statement released on behalf of Walsall Council and Walsall Police said: “The council with the support of the police and other agencies has been seeking to address a number of issues at Whateley Road playing fields,” the statement said.
“These include the illegal occupation of public land and numerous other activities including fly-tipping and the keeping of goats and other livestock. Considerable effort has been made to engage with the individual concerned and to get them to take steps to resolve the issue.
“The council, supported by the police, on Thursday started action to return the land back to public use and these objectives were achieved.
“In the late morning two untamed horses went onto a public highway. It appears that they were released deliberately. This created a real and significant threat to public safety and required the horses to be humanely put down on the advice of an animal husbandry company.”