'Horse bailiff' could help tackle stray horses in York

'Horse bailiff' could help tackle stray horses in York

A HORSE bailiff may be brought in to tackle the problem of animals tethered illegally on roadside verges near York.

York Council's cabinet will consider new guidelines and policies at its next meeting, following a series of accidents in the past year involving horses that have broken free and strayed on to roads.

Cabinet members of City of York Council are to be presented with a proposed policy and enforcement guidelines on Tuesday 2 April for the removal of horses from council land. These will help address the issue of horses which are illegally grazing and set out how the council can support private land owners where horses are illegally grazing on private land

Further to Cabinet permitting officers to develop a joint protocol in December 2012, consultation has taken place with bodies including landowners, Traveller support workers, North Yorkshire Police, local vets, the NFU and the RSPCA.  

This joint protocol’s main focus is the removal of illegally grazing horses from a public highway, council land or privately owned land. To do this, it proposes engaging a horse bailiff in a contract which could require them to check on public land, post notices and remove illegally tethered horses in line with current legislation and, where legally possible, act under contract on behalf of private landowners.

Additional to ongoing work to support Travellers with their horses, the council has secured funding from the Homes and Communities Agency to improve provision on Travellers’ sites, and a proportion will be allocated to secure grazing land for tenants horses.

The joint protocol recommends that the council works in partnership with the RSPCA and horse welfare charities to develop a micro chipping and re-homing service.

At the next annual review of council tenancy agreements, a new clause will be proposed to Secure and Introductory Tenancy Agreement, which states that tethering horses, ponies, donkeys or any other livestock on any open plan areas or council-owned land is not permitted. 

Councillor Dafydd Williams, City of York Council’s Cabinet Member for Crime and Stronger Communities said: “An effective solution to the matter of illegally tethered or straying horses has been carefully considered with a broad sweep of stakeholders. Their support and co-operation means that, should the protocol be agreed, this approach will benefit the animals, road users, horse owners and land owners who may be regularly affected.”