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Stray and tethered horses


This page contains information about procedures relating to stray horses.

Loose or stray horses that are on, or are in danger of straying onto a public road or highway, or are causing an obstruction, should be reported directly to the Police on 999 or 101.

  • Stray horse: a horse is classed as a stray when it is roaming freely on open spaces, roads, footpaths or other areas without being tethered or under someone's control.
  • Tethered horse: a tethered horse is one which is tied up on an open space, highway, verge or other area.

We do not allow horses to be grazed on areas of public open space because of the potential danger they pose to other people using the land. Please tell us about any cases of stray or tethered horses.

How do I report a sick or injured horse?

Please contact the RSPCA on 0300 1234 999 to report a sick or injured horse or if you're concerned about its welfare.

What happens once I have reported a stray horse on council land?

A neighbourhood warden will visit the location and attempt to move the stray horse into a secure field or an area away from the public. We will try to identify the owner of the horse by scanning it for a microchip or looking for identifying marks. We will post notices on the land near to where the horse was found straying and speak to local residents to try and find out who the owner is.

If there are no suitable locations to secure the horse we may remove it. It will be held in a secure location for the minimum of 96 hours, after which it will either be sold at auction, re-homed or humanely destroyed.

What happens if a horse is loose or tethered on private land?

Our aim is to get owners to take responsibility for their horse and to remove it from council-owned land. If a horse is loose or tethered on private land, it is the landowner's responsibility to ensure it does not cause a danger to the public. The  Icon for pdf Advice for private landowners - illegally grazed horses (PDF, 46.0kb)  document provides more information.

Contact us
Stray horses
03000 26 1000
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