Fly-grazing dangers highlighted in new film

8 November 2018

The dangers of fly-grazing - leaving a horse on land without the landowner’s permission – are being highlighted in a new film aimed at making communities a safer place to be.

Fly-grazed horses pose welfare concerns for the horse as well as a danger to the public.

Horses are often tethered for hours in inappropriate locations and left in a distressed state without shelter, water and sufficient food, often on land that is totally inadequate for a horse such as highway verges, playing fields and parks.

Newark and Sherwood District Council leader David Lloyd, said: “One horse will need a football pitch sized area to live in. When horses are left in an unsuitable location they become agitated and may try and escape, putting both themselves and the public in danger. We have no choice but to take action against those who do not look after horses responsibly.”

‘Avoiding fly-grazing’ is a short film created by local authorities and animal welfare charities and will be shown for the first time on Wednesday 7 November at Newark and Sherwood District Council headquarters, Castle House.

The film has been produced to give details of the laws and responsibilities around horse ownership in an engaging and visual format. After Wednesday’s showing of the film, all removal notices and warnings issued against fly-grazed horses will include a scannable QR code which links to the video for those who prefer video format instead of written text.

‘Avoiding fly-grazing’ also includes advice from vets on the suitable conditions for keeping horses and how to stay safe and legal.

Guidance and policies in collaboration with Nottinghamshire County Council were approved by councillors at the district council’s homes and communities committee in January 2017. Since then, there has been an increase in enforcement action in a number of fly-grazing cases in the district.

The Control of Horses Act 2015 gives the landowner or local authorities the power to detain a horse for up to 96 hours. If the horse is either unclaimed or its owner refuses to comply, ownership of the horse will be transferred to the individual or authority that detained the animal, and arrangements will be made to rehome it.

Prior to the introduction of the Control of Horses Act, it was estimated that on average between 2,500 and 3,000 horses were fly-grazed in England and Wales.

If a member of the public discovers a fly-grazed horse, they are encouraged to contact the most appropriate authority as shown below:

  • Loose horse on a road: contact the police.
  • Horse on district council owned land such as parks and playing fields: contact Newark and Sherwood District Council on 01636 650000.
  • Horse on private land: contact the landowner or if unsure contact Newark and Sherwood District Council on 01636 650000 for more information.
  • Horse at the side of a road: contact Nottinghamshire County Council Highways department on 0300 500 80 80.

Newark and Sherwood District Council has commissioned the film in association with Newark and Sherwood Homes and Nottinghamshire County Council and supported by Help for Horses and Country Landowners’ Association (CLA).

Click here to view the video.

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