An eviction notice has been served on four remaining abandoned horses in a muddy field in Yateley.

Following a growing public campaign concerning the welfare of the animals off Moulsham Copse Lane, the horses must be removed by the owner by Monday February 24 or they will be put into the hands of the landowner.

There were originally 14 ponies on the site. One died on February 4 and six were removed by the RSPCA on Tuesday last week because they were in a poor state.

It is unknown who owns the ponies but the land has been ‘flygrazed’ without consent, and now the landowner has served the notice.

Since the beginning of the heavy rainfall, animal lovers have been working tirelessly throughout the nights to keep the Shetland ponies and Cobs alive.

Abandoned horses in a field off Moulsham Copse Lane

The horses have been living in the field for months, but since the bad weather have been struggling to survive with nothing to eat, little to drink and no shelter.

Of the remaining seven ponies, three were taken by the owners sometime last weekend, and horse lovers have launched an appeal for their return as one of them was a foal and had not finished weaning.

A campaigner who wished to remain anonymous said: “There has been a lot of unpleasantness over the past week between various groups involved with the issue.

“The foal that was taken had not been properly weaned so it was not only stressful for the foal but also for its mother still in the field.

“When the original campaign was launched I never thought it would escalate this much. One of the message posts on the internet had 900 comments and was shared to 21,000 people.

“My desire was to create awareness of the situation, to alert the authorities whether it was the council, the RSPCA or the police.”

Campaigners shared their concerns and photos of the ponies to thousands of people via social networking websites. Volunteers ensured the ponies had sufficient hay and water and took it in turns to observe the condition of the animals.

“So many people have come down to show their support,” the campaigner said. “Even the local primary school visited the site. Children bought carrots and apples to feed the ponies.”

The RSPCA has been monitoring the horses since it was first made aware of them.

The animal charity can only remove animals if the law allows it to do so, but following the vast number of concerns raised, officers have made regular visits to check on them.

A spokesman for the RSPCA, said: “We would like to reassure the public that we are keeping a very close eye on these horses and taking action wherever possible.

“We currently do not know the owner of the horses – this would be a great help to us so we are requesting that anyone who has information about the horses’ owners should call us in confidence on 0300 1234 999.

“Sadly this situation is not uncommon. The country is in the grip of a horse crisis, with the RSPCA and other horse welfare charities struggling to cope with the numbers of abandoned, neglected and abused horses.”