Dog attacks have long been a problem for horse riders. But from this week (13 May) under new changes to the law, dog owners can be prosecuted if their dog causes injury to a rider on public and private land, including livery yards.
It is already an offence under the Dangerous Dogs Act for any dog to be dangerously out of control in a public place.
Riders and industry figures would still like further changes in the law to tackle the growing problem of dogs chasing or attacking horses.
Currently prosecutions can only be brought if the dog harms the rider or puts them in fear of being injured.
Last year H&H reported that the number of dog attacks on horses had almost doubled in the past year, according to the British Horse Society.
But the charity said the changes still don’t go far enough.
“We would still like to see attacks against other animals be criminalised,” said Lee Hackett from the BHS “At present it is very difficult to take action if a dog attacks a horse. We do need more people to report incidents and even near misses. Without data we will never achieve changes in legislation.”
New penalties under the changes
➤ Up to 14 years’ imprisonment if a person dies as a result of a dog attack (the current maximum for aggravated dog attacks is currently 2 years)
➤ 5 years’ imprisonment if a person is injured by a dog attack
➤ Attacks on private property will now be covered — including those at livery yards
Report a dog attack at www.horseaccidents.org.uk
First published in Horse & Hound on 15 May 2014.