Dog attacks and equestrian road accidents are more frequent than previously thought, according to the latest figures from the British Horse Society (BHS).
Just over a year ago, the website www.horseaccidents.org was set up by the BHS to record, for lobbying purposes, all equestrian accidents.
Almost 640 incidents have been recorded – including 194 dog attacks and 295 road accidents.
Sheila Hardy of the BHS said the number of road accidents was surprising.
“We had not expected the volume of dog attacks taking place,” she told H&H.
“We are working alongside PC Keith Evans [dog legislation officer at West Midlands Police], who has been tasked by the police force to move legislation on dog attacks forward.
“This information has sped up the process – proving that hard facts can make a difference.”
Unless a dog is classified as illegal under the Dangerous Dogs Act, or is deemed to be dangerously out of control, it is not a criminal offence for a dog to bite another animal.
PC Evans added: “The results are what I had anticipated – sadly, there has been an increase in dog attacks on horses, both in fields and while out riding.
“We are working to change legislation to include attacks on domestic animals and those that take place on private property, which are not currently included in the Dangerous Dogs Act.
“Any research will further our case.”
Before establishing the site, the BHS said it was receiving around two reports of accidents a week.
“The website is definitely useful,” Ms Hardy added.
The website can be used to record incidents involving fireworks, gates, windfarms and low-flying aircrafts.
And the BHS is to add further categories including issues with cyclists, Chinese lanterns, bird scarers, equestrian vehicle breakdown and fire.
This news story was first published in the current issue of H&H (29 December)