Fly-grazing is when a horse is left on someone's land without the permission of the landowner.
The Control of Horses Act 2015
Mendip District Council have adopted the Control of Horses Act 2015, the act will both protect the public and tackle the neglect of abandoned horses. Landowners have a duty of care towards any animal on their property so fly-grazing passes the responsibility to feed and care for the animal on to someone other than the owner. This allows unscrupulous owners of horses to retain ownership but not a duty of care.
Fly-grazing horses are usually tethered to prevent them roaming and this can cause them injuries by the collar being too tight and cutting into the horse's head or neck. There is also a risk that they can become entangled in the tether rope and means they are unable to run from another animal or person who may wish to do them harm.
What Action can be taken
Under the Control of Horses Act 2015, which gives private landowners the same powers as local authorities, landowners can take possession of abandoned horses after a four-day notification period, provided that they have abided by the provisions of the act.
If the horse's owner has not come forward and claimed the animal within that four day period, then the horse can be seized and re-homed privately or to a charity, sold or, as a last resort, humanely destroyed.
Private landowners who would like advice on the new law can contact the council's Neighbourhood Services Enforcement Team on 0300 303 8588 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org .