Huge distress as seven ponies hit – and five killed – within eight days

  • Seven ponies have been hit and five killed on Dartmoor within eight days, the most collisions ever seen in such a short time.

    Dartmoor Livestock Protection Society livestock protection officer Karla McKechnie told H&H the incidents were hugely upsetting, especially as only three of the collisions were reported, leaving the ponies involved in the others to suffer.

    “It’s very distressing,” she said. “We’ve never had so many in such a short space of time.

    “One had a broken leg and was left to die. Three were reported but the others were just left.

    “People have to realise that these ponies are all owned by someone, so there’s not only the financial loss, there’s the emotional side, of knowing that their animals have been left to suffer. That is not good enough.”

    Karla said it might be that the cold snap had contributed, as ponies get a taste for the salt used on the roads and so are attracted to them.

    “We get a lot of fog on these roads, and people have to drive with more awareness and to the conditions,” she said. “There are miles and miles of unfenced roads on Dartmoor, and it’s great to see the animals grazing freely, and they have every right to be there. It’s their home and they should be able to graze and flourish and live in peace and safety. People have to realise there may be animals on the road.”

    Karla added that although she is not pointing the finger at any individuals, it is “absolutely criminal to leave a pony like that, knowing it could be injured”.

    “It’s hard in the dark but do the right thing and call it in,” she said. “I’m on call 24 hours a day, or call the police, then we can get help to that animal. There’s always someone you can call.

    “Or people do call and say the pony’s fine, it went off, but it’s probably only gone five metres, and could be there with a broken leg. Or then you ask what the damage is to their car and they say it’s written off. Then you know the pony needs seeing to.

    “It took 15 years to get the A386 fenced off but these are B roads and unless there’s a human fatality, I don’t think anyone will listen. But again, why should they be fenced, why can’t people just drive sensibly? It’s a beautiful, majestic national park, and those animals have every right to be there.”

    You might also be interested in:

    Horse & Hound magazine, out every Thursday, is packed with all the latest news and reports, as well as interviews, specials, nostalgia, vet and training advice. Find how you can enjoy the magazine delivered to your door every week, plus options to upgrade your subscription to access our online service that brings you breaking news and reports as well as other benefits.

    You may like...