Police are taking action against an owner whose dog attacked one of their horses, though other riders in this situation have repeatedly complained that the police will not act.

The owner has received a court summons after her pet attacked a police horse in Greenwich.

H&H has been contacted by many readers in the past who have criticised the police for refusing to prosecute owners of dogs who have attacked their horses. But in this case they are clamping down, highlighting the variable response.

The 26-year-old will receive a court summons for having her dog “dangerously out of control in a public place” and for “criminal damage to police property”.

“All dogs need to be managed so they do not become aggressive,” said PC Katherine Smith.

The French bull terrier-Staffordshire went for four-year-old Quixote on 22 January. He  sustained 2 puncture wounds before the dog was restrained by a passer by.

In October, Holly Clark said Cambridgeshire Police told her “there was nothing they could do” when a dog leapt from a window and bit her pony (news, 10 October).  Police told H&H it was a “civil matter”.

“I should have kept pushing it,” said Ms Clark. “But now I’ve seen this it’s definitely ‘one rule for them and one rule for us’.’’

Commentator Mike Tucker saw the owner of 2 bull terriers prosecuted after they attacked his horse in 2010.  But he called for “a more consistent action” across the UK on the issue.

The British Horse Society (BHS) believes dog attacks are becoming more common but that the police response varies from force to force. And it wants the law to take a stronger line against dogs attacking horses.

“Section 3 of the Dangerous Dogs Act makes it an offence for any dog to be dangerously out of control in a public place,” said the society’s Lee Hackett. “This means a dog causing fear to a person that it may injure them.”

➤  Report an incident at: www.horseaccidents.org.uk

This article was first published in Horse & Hound magazine (13 February 2014)