Many readers may be familiar with the term: fly-tipping (the illegal deposit of waste on land) but may not be familiar with the term: fly-grazing (leaving grazing animals, notably horses, on private land without permission) & the new Act that seeks to control this activity.
It is a common law provision that landowners have a duty of care towards any animal on their property, and become responsible for the welfare of the animals until an owner is found or comes forward. In the case of fly grazing, it is a way of giving someone else responsibility to feed and care for domesticated animals without the property owner’s permission.
Due to an over-supply of grazing animals and a lack of demand, unscrupulous breeders who cannot afford to feed and care for their horses and ponies are leaving them on private land in the knowledge that they retain ownership but not a duty of care.
Whilst there has been legislation that covers some aspects of this situation, the legislation has been seen as complex and containing significant loopholes.
Now, that The Control of Horses Act 2015 has been passed by the United Kingdom Parliament, it will allow both local authorities and private landowners to act more quickly and decisively when horses are fly-grazed on their land (placed onto their land without permission). Additionally, it gives a far wider range of options to land owners on what actions they can take with respect to seized horses.
This Act should be actively considered as a “legal requirement” within the Environmental Management Systems operated land owners, such as Local Authorities, the Highways Agency, property developers, supermarkets and other organisations that own land set aside or future development, utilities companies (gas, water, electricity companies) and schools, hospitals, and other public sector bodies who may find horses dumped on their land.
In terms of implementation, the Act comes into force two months after it received Royal Assent (26 March 2015) meaning that it will come into force on 26th May 2015 & it applies to England and Wales.
A copy of The Control of Horses Act 2015 can be downloaded here