Calls for clamp down on dangerous dogs

  • An owner whose pony was attacked by a Staffordshire bull terrier that jumped from an upstairs window has joined calls to clamp down on dangerous dogs.

    Holly Clark told H&H her pony was attacked on Sunday, 22 September, in Litlington, Cambs. She said the dog jumped from the window as her pony walked by, in harness.

    “The dog ran straight for my pony and started biting his legs. It then hung off his stomach,” she said.

    Ms Clark added that during the commotion the pony came down on her friend Jo Hitchings, injuring her arm. The pony bolted, with the cart, knocking down Ms Clark.

    “My pony has about 10 puncture wounds — on his legs, chest and stomach,” she said.

    “The vet fee was £300, but the police told me there is nothing they can do. I want to warn people; who’s to say it won’t attack a child next?”

    There have been other reports of dog attacks on horses in Barlow, Derbys, and Ashdown Forest, Kent, in the past month.

    In August, H&H reported that the number of dog attacks on horses has almost doubled in the past year, according to the British Horse Society.

    The same month, the Government launched a consultation, proposing harsher punishment for the owners of dogs that kill someone.

    But the BHS says more needs to be done to beef up the law to deal with incidents of dogs attacking horses.

    Lee Hackett, BHS director of equine policy, urged riders to report attacks.

    “In 2012, 166 dog attacks on horses were reported to www.horseaccidents.org.uk and there have been 107 reports so far in 2013,” he said. “We desperately need people to report incidents to us to give us the data required to get changes made to legislation.”

    He remarked that it was “surprising” that no action had been taken in Ms Clark’s case.

    “Section 3 of the Dangerous Dogs Act makes it an offence for any dog to be dangerously out of control in a public place,” he said.

    “This means a dog causing fear to a person that it may injure them. It seems clear that this happened here.”

    A Cambridgeshire Police spokesman told H&H that it was a “civil matter”, but added: “An officer is seeking advice and it will be reopened if any offences are revealed.”

    This news story was first published in Horse & Hound magazine (10 October 2013)

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