Horse owner Jayne McGowan is making a heartfelt plea to people in the East Durham area to stop feeding the animals.
It comes as figures show the number of deaths in horses since lockdown started has risen, with stories in the national media suggesting this is due to people feeding them.
Jayne, 43, from Shotton Colliery, who owns beloved Jack, a 16-year-old American Standard breed, said: “I myself have found carrots, onions and other vegetables in my field. People think they are being kind feeding the horses but it can be so dangerous to them. It can cause colic, impaction or even death.
“I can’t stress enough for people not to feed them anything at all. This is heart breaking and needs to stop.”
Jayne has been campaigning on social media to raise awareness of this issue and there is also a petition under way to make it an offence to feed someone else’s horses.
Jayne added: “As a horse owner myself I have several signs up in my field to help get the message out there. No horse owner should have the heart break of losing a beloved pet this way.
“Please read the signs and follow them. A sudden change to a horse’s diet can have serious consequences.
“A few years ago, my boy Jack took poorly with impaction which was caused by someone feeding him broccoli stalks. He had to have his stomach pumped and was in a great deal of pain but thank goodness he pulled through. He was very lucky though unfortunately it did result in a £1000 vet bill.
“Jack is my world; he has a heart of gold and I don’t want anything to happen to him.
“It is horrendous to see a beloved pet having to go through this I would urge everyone to listen – please don’t feed the horses anything at all. What you think is an act of kindness could kill them.”