Stray horses crackdown long overdue

First published in Our View by

At last it seems that firm action is to be taken to tackle the problem of irresponsible horse owners in the district.

There have been too many incidents involving stray horses wandering where they shouldn’t, causing damage and disruption. In one horrific incident just four months ago, a five-year-old boy was left with terrible injuries after being kicked in the head by a horse that had been left tethered near a play area.

On the back of such an incident, it would have been hoped that the owners themselves would have taken more responsibility, but sadly problems still persist around some areas of the city.

So now the Council along with a number of agencies is promising firmer action, including impounding horses that are found illegally tethered or roaming on its land.

The owners could, if they are tenants of Incommunities, ultimately find themselves evicted, as the social landlord has backed the Council’s strong stance and promised to act on those keeping horses in breach of their tenancy agreement.

This concerted, joined-up action on this issue, with the police and the RSPCA also giving their support, is welcome, if long overdue.

As the RSPCA inspector says today, allowing horses to stray on private and public land is anti-social behaviour. It is unfair on the people who own and use that land, it creates a potential hazard for both traffic and pedestrians, and it is ultimately cruel for the animals themselves.

Hopefully the crackdown will lead to owners being prosecuted and horses removed from them if the problem continues. That may be the only way that the irresponsible attitude of these owners can be eradicated once and for all.

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