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Horses

Volume 449: debated on Tuesday 25 July 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what powers are available to local authorities to deal with nuisance caused by horses (a) roaming wild in urban areas and (b) tethered on (i) public and (ii) private open space; and if she will make a statement. (85305)

I have been asked to reply.

The Animals Act 1971 and the Highways Act 1980 contain provisions that relate to stray horses. Responsibility for enforcing this legislation lies with the police and local authorities.

The Protection Against Cruel Tethering Act 1988 created a specific offence under the Protection of Animals Act 1911 of causing unnecessary suffering to a horse, ass or mule by the manner or condition of its tethering. Anyone can seek to bring a prosecution where there is evidence of cruelty, either by tethering or by allowing horses to run free.

It is also an offence under the Abandonment of Animals Act 1960 to abandon an animal in circumstances likely to cause it unnecessary suffering. The maximum penalty for this offence is a fine of £5,000 or a six months imprisonment, or both.