EQUINE welfare specialists will be at Appleby Horse Fair, which starts tomorrow.

The charity RSPCA is sending a team of 32 officers during peak times.

This will include the charity’s newly appointed specialist equine officers, a handpicked team of eight which was put together earlier this year in response to an increase in the number of incidents involving horses.

Chief Insp Cathy Hyde, RSPCA national equine co-ordinator, said: “This is a large event involving thousands of horses and other animals and, whilst the vast majority of people attending treat their animals well, sadly, there are some that do not.

"We want to do everything possible to ensure that those animals receive the care they need and their owners can be dealt with appropriately, where necessary.

“We have a dedicated team, many of whom have years of experience at Appleby Horse Fair, and this year, for the first time, part of our staff will be made up of our new specialist equine officers too.”

Four other animal welfare organisations are also sending officers - Redwings, World Horse Welfare, Donkey Sanctuary and Blue Cross.

There will be a vet station at Salt Tip Corner where anyone with any concerns about an animal can see someone.

This will be staffed on Friday, Saturday and Sunday between 10am-4pm.

Chief inspector Hyde is urging people to leave their dogs at home.

“This is a horse fair and people should not bring other pets along.

"Horses can get 'spooked' by dogs and dogs can get trampled by horses."

“In previous years we've pulled dead and dying dogs out of cars, caravans and awnings, all of which can get hot on even cloudy days.

"The temperature in enclosed spaces like these rises quickly, causing heatstroke and the most terrible death.

The RSPCA is also reminding people that selling dogs or birds at the fair is illegal and is urging people not to purchase them.