Illegal Grazing and Tethered Horses
Illegal grazing of horses is the practice of placing a horse or horses on someone's land to graze without the permission of the landowner. The horses are often placed on public green spaces such as grass verges, sports pitches and recreation grounds. This is also often known as "fly grazing". The horses are usually, but not always, tethered to prevent roaming.
Hartlepool Borough Council works closely with the Police, the RSPCA and the British Horse Society to tackle the problem.
- If a horse/s is straying on the highway this should be reported to the Police. In an emergency dial 999 and ask for the Police. Non-emergency situations can be reported to the Police by dialling 101. If there is no danger of the horse getting onto the road, but you are concerned about it, please report it to the RSPCA on 0300 1234 999 or to the Council on 01429 523333.
- If the horse is clearly sick, distressed or injured you should report it to the RSPCA on their 24 hour hotline on 0300 1234 999. Please give as much detail as possible, particularly regarding the location and any access issues, to enable the RSPCA Inspector to find the horse as quickly as possible.
- Where horses are being grazed illegally on Council land you can report it to us by phoning 01429 523333 or by completing our online form:
The Control of Horses Act 2015 came into force on 26th May 2015 and makes it much easier for local authorities and private landowners to take action against owners who graze horses on their land without permission. Under this Act any horse found on Council owned land will be seized and removed by horse bailiffs without further notification.
The following guidance is available below:
- Redwings Horse Sanctuary has produced a Factsheet on Tethering for members of the public concerned about tethered horses.
- The Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) have produced a Code of Practice for the Welfare of Horses and Ponies. This explains the "duty of care" for those who own or are responsible for a horse including how to provide for a horse's needs as laid down by the Animal Welfare Act.
- The RSPCA have produced a guidance booklet "Who is responsible for what in Animal Welfare" for members of the public concerned about the welfare of an animal (wild or domesticated) which explains which agency is the best equipped to deal with a range of animal welfare concerns.
- The British Horse Society have produced a guidance leaflet on safe and acceptable methods of tethering a horse as well as some examples of unacceptable tethering methods which could cause the horse to suffer.