Commissioner and police in Hertfordshire welcome fly grazing legislation

Hertfordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, David Lloyd has welcomed new legislation that came into force yesterday (26th May) to tackle the scourge of fly grazing of horses.

Fly grazing is using someone else’s land, without permission, to graze horses. Often the animals are in poor condition and not properly secured, allowing them stray onto roads, causing traffic delays and, potentially, serious collisions.

The new law was also welcomed by Hertfordshire Constabulary and it is hoped that they will have to deal with fewer road traffic issues and collisions as a result. 

Commissioner David Lloyd said: “Not only will the Control of Horses Act improve animal welfare but it will reduce disruption and the potential for serious injury collisions on our roads. 

“My deputy has been working for some months on this issue and has raised it at a national level, so we are delighted that this has finally become law. We look forward to working with our partners in Hertfordshire to take it a step further and ensure it does not become a burden to local authorities and animal welfare charities.”   

For police the legislation means that they will need to record reports by landowners of fly grazed horses and they expect to see fewer calls about stray horses on the roads*.

Inspector Jason Thorne, who leads the Constabulary Rural Operational Support Team, said: “We think that the new law will act as a real incentive for irresponsible horse owners to properly care for their animals.  Landowners have far greater powers to dispose of any horse abandoned on their land and we hope to see fewer police call outs and fewer road traffic collisions resulting from stray horses.

Under the previous Animals Act 1971 an abandoned horse could only be disposed of after 14 days through sale at market or public auction. (The law also made the landowner responsible for the animal’s welfare during this time, not the horse’s owner). The new Act means fly-grazing horses have to be reported to police within 24 hours and owners now have four days to claim their animals. The new law extends the options for dealing with abandoned horses to include private sale, gifting and rehoming, which has been welcomed by animal welfare campaigners.

In Hertfordshire, a multi-agency summit is due to take place on June 3 to discuss what the legislation will mean for the county and what more can be done to deal with those who continue to flout the law.

If you wish to contact the office of the Police and Crime Commissioner you can email: telephone 01707 806100 or write to the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Hertfordshire, Harpenden Police Station, 15 Vaughan Road, Hertfordshire, AL5 4GZ.

You can also follow the Commissioner on Twitter @HertsPCC and find out more on his Facebook page: HertsPCC.