Animal lovers are working tirelessly to keep more than a dozen neglected ponies alive.

A group of 11 Shetland ponies and two cobs in a field off Moulsham Copse Lane, Yateley, are said to be fighting off hunger and disease.

Last Tuesday a pony - the second in two months - died as it was in such a poor state. It was put down by an RSPCA vet, but its body was not removed until Sunday (February 9).

It is not known who owns the ponies, but the land is owned by an overseas company and is being ‘flygrazed’ without consent.

Lisa Longbottom and her daughter Kiah, from Hartley Wintney, are among the horse-lovers who have been coming up to the field twice a day to feed and monitor the ponies.

Video Loading

Mrs Longbottom said: “Something needs to be done to try and give these ponies a bit of grazing, a bit of dry land.

“We don’t know how long this is going to go on for, we need four bails of hay a day."

The animals have been living in the field for months, but since the heavy rainfall, they have been struggling to survive with nothing to eat and no shelter.

Campaigners have shared their concerns and photos to thousands of people via social networking websites.

A spokesman for the RSPCA said: “The RSPCA can only remove animals if the law allows us to do so and in this case the horses had clearly been fed and had some had owners visiting them although we have not yet been able to trace these owners.

“As there were concerns we made regular visits to check on them. As part of these checks we asked a vet to attend last Tuesday. He sadly found one horse at the location to be in such a poorly state that he felt the kindest thing to do was put him to sleep to end this suffering.”

For more on this story, see this week's Yateley News & Mail, out on Thursday February 13.