The British Horse Society has responded to the Defra consultation on a package of measures to promote more responsible dog ownership and to reduce dog attacks.
Dog attacks on horses, or even when a dog chases a horse but does not attack, can have serious emotional, physical and financial consequences for horses, owners and riders. They can also deprive other equestrians of exercise and access to the countryside by deterring them from using routes.
Since the launch of its dedicated accident recording website, www.horseaccidents.org.uk, in November 2010, The British Horse Society has received 316 reports of dog attacks on horses.
Consequently, the UK’s foremost equestrian charity has made the following recommendations:
- The British Horse Society calls for the microchipping of all dogs, logged on a single database. This would enable the owners of dogs to be identified so that prosecutions can be brought against their owners when a dog attacks a horse or rider.
- The Society believes that the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 should be extended to cover all places, including private property, where a dog is permitted to be. In some instances it is not possible to bring a prosecution where a dog has attacked a horse and rider because that place does not fall within the current definition of a public place as set out within the Act.
- The BHS believes that the opportunity should be taken to create an offence for dog attacks on horses and other animals. A horse that is chased onto a public highway can result in tragic consequences not just for the horse but the driver and passengers of the vehicle that hits it.