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100 horses seized in Bradford in safety crackdown
Authorities have seized nearly 100 horses found roaming dangerously on highways or tethered on common land in Bradford in the last year, it has been revealed.
Figures obtained by the Telegraph & Argus show police have removed 86 horses from public highways in the district during 2012, prosecuting 12 owners for allowing their animals to stray.
And a Bradford Council contractor has impounded ten rogue horses and issued 31 enforcement warning notices to problem owners since a tough crackdown on nuisance animals was launched last October.
A senior councillor hailed the blitz on irresponsible owners, run by Bradford Council, West Yorkshire Police and Incommunities, for sparking a “significant” reduction in the nuisance caused by loose animals.
Owners who leave their horses loose or tethered to council, housing association or public land now face eviction from their homes, court injunctions or the removal of their animals.
Coun Andrew Thornton, Bradford Council executive member for environment, sport and sustainability, said: “These measures prevent the horses from being a danger or nuisance to the public and show that all partners in the district are serious about dealing with this matter.”
The council appointed a new contractor to impound horses left on its land after a string of high-profile incidents last year.
Last May, five-year-old Harlie Thompson suffered a fractured skull when he was kicked by a horse illegally tethered near a children’s play area at Buttershaw Beck, Bradford.
During life-saving surgery, he had to have part of his brain, the size of a 50p coin, removed after it was pierced by fractured bone.
And in October, staff at a Bierley primary school expressed concern for the health and safety of pupils after horses were found roaming in the grounds.
In the first month of the operation, three horses left tethered on Council land on the Holme Wood estate were impounded.
Incommunities has since placed several signs on its land warning that enforcement action will be taken in horses are placed there and an animal nuisance officer has spoken to and served warnings where owners can be identified.
Chief Inspector Damien Miller, of Bradford South Police, said the welfare of the horses was also being looked at in the crackdown and police had linked with the RSPCA.
To report a stray horse, contact Bradford Council on (01274) 431000, Incommunities on (01274) 475261 or police on 101.
Anyone who would like to join the Bradford HorseWatch scheme should contact PCSO Julie Hansord on 07595 009211.