Owners of illegally tethered horses have been ordered to pay £2,000 to get them back, or see them sold at auction.
The animals were seized and impounded by officials in the West Midlands.
So far, 18 horses have been seized from the Tipton area, but only one has been reclaimed.
While tethering per se is not illegal, Sandwell Council has a strict no-grazing policy across its parks and green spaces.
Sandwell councillor Derek Rowley told H&H the round-up was essential:
“It was provoked by complaints of anti-social behaviour, damage to council property and injuries to people, who were using public open space, by being knocked over by loose horses,” he said.
The British Horse Society supports the initiative.
But Mark Farrington, who had a horse removed by bailiffs because it was left tethered on public land, told local media the problem was caused by horses allowed to roam loose.
“Tethering is something we’ve done for years,” he said.
“Our horses don’t cause problems on the chains, it’s the loose ones which we don’t agree with.”
Another man whose horse was seized is investigating legal avenues to get it back after refusing to pay the £2,000 fine.
Tethered horses have long been contentious in this part of the BlackCountry, with owners campaigning to preserve the tradition. Around 100 people have staged formal protests.
This news story was first published in the curren issue of H&H (24 November 2011)