Don’t feed the ponies plea

Anger over TV presenter’s comments

Sutton Coldfield residents have reacted to comments from Central TV presenter Bob Warman about feeding the Exmoor ponies in Sutton Park.

In a section about the ponies, the veteran presenter said he would like to take carrots to the herd that roams the area the next time he visited the park.

This is despite signs posted throughout the park discouraging visitors from feeding the ponies as all of their dietary needs are catered for within the park itself.

Sutton Park is home to the largest herd of Exmoor ponies outside of Exmoor itself. As well as being a delight to visitors they contribute an important part to the environmental welfare of the park.

Sutton Park has also seen an increase in the number of dogs, let off their leads by owners, chasing and harassing the ponies, causing distress and anxiety. It is part of increased anti-social behaviour in the park which also includes large gatherings of people ignoring lockdown restrictions and discarding their litter, sometimes in the park pools.

One park visitor posted on a Sutton community Facebook page: “I can hardly express how furious I am. Just watching ITV Central News which featured an article on the wild ponies of our country including our beautiful Exmoor Ponies in Sutton Park.

“Mr Warman ended the article by announcing next time he is in Sutton Park he will take them some carrots.I just cannot believe the ignorance of such a prominent local person.”

A spokesman for Birmingham City Council, which has responsibility for the park indicated it was in dialogue with ITV Central about the concerns in relation the comments that were made on air.

A spokesman added: “As we have said throughout the pandemic, and would say more generally, we would urge dog owners/walkers to act responsibly at all times and for people to follow the guidance on coronavirus so we continue to minimise the threat it still poses to people.

“In terms of litter, we again repeat our call for people to respect all of our parks and open spaces. This is our shared environment. If people have litter and are unable to find a bin, they should take it home and dispose of it safely.”

Central News was contacted for comment, but no reply has so far been received.

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