Make provision for the taking of action in relation to horses which are in
public places; and for connected purposes.
Be it enacted by the Queen’s most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and
consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present
Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:—
(1) After section 7 of the Animals Act 1971 insert—
A local authority in England may detain a horse which is in any public
place in its area, if the conditions in subsection (2) are met.
(2) The conditions are—
the local authority has reasonable grounds for believing that the
horse is there without lawful authority, and
(b) if the land is lawfully occupied by a person—
(i) that person consents to the detention of the horse, or
the local authority has reasonable grounds for believing
that that person would consent to the detention of the
horse (but this does not require the authority to seek
Section 7B contains further provision about detention under this
(4) In this section and section 7B “local authority” means—
(a) a county council,
(b) a district council,
(c) a London borough council,
(d) the Common Council of the City of London, and
(e) the Council of the Isles of Scilly.”
(2) In section 11 (interpretation)—
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(a) after the definition of “fencing” insert—
““horse” includes an ass, mule or hinny;”;
(b) in the definition of “livestock” omit “asses, mules, hinnies,”;
(c) after the definition of “poultry” insert—
““public place” includes—
any common land or town or village green;
any highway (and the verges of any highway).”
After section 7A of the Animals Act 1971 (as inserted by section 1 of this Act),
(1) This section applies where a horse is detained under section 7A.
The right to detain the horse ceases at the end of the period of 24 hours
beginning with the time when it is first detained unless, within that
period, the local authority gives notice of the detention to—
(a) the officer in charge of a police station, and
if the local authority knows to whom the horse belongs, that
Where notice is given under subsection (2), the right to detain the horse
ceases if, within the period of 96 hours beginning with the time when it
is first detained, the person entitled to possession of the horse—
(a) claims it, and
(b) complies with the condition in subsection (4).
(4) The condition is that the person tenders to—
(a) the local authority, and
if applicable, the owner or occupier of the land on which the
horse is present without lawful authority,
such amount as is sufficient to satisfy any claim the local authority or
the owner or occupier may have under section 4A in respect of the
If by the end of the 96 hour period referred to in subsection (3) the right
to detain the horse has not ceased under this section—
(a) ownership of the horse passes to the local authority, and
accordingly, the local authority may dispose of it by selling it,
arranging for it to be destroyed or in any other way.
Where a horse is sold under this section and the proceeds of sale, less
the costs of the sale and any costs incurred in connection with it, exceed
the amount of any claims the local authority and the owner or occupier
of the land may have under section 4A in respect of the horse, the excess
is recoverable from the local authority by the person who would have
been entitled to possession of the horse but for this section.
A local authority detaining a horse under this section is liable for any
damage caused to it by a failure to treat it with reasonable care and
supply it with adequate food and water while it is so detained.
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References in this section to a claim under section 4A of this Act in
respect of any horse do not include a claim under that section for
damage done by or expenses incurred in respect of the horse before it
was in the public place without lawful authority.
In calculating a period of 96 hours for the purposes of this section,
disregard any time falling on—
(a) a Saturday or Sunday,
(b) Good Friday or Christmas Day, or
a day which is a bank holiday in England and Wales under the
Banking and Financial Dealings Act 1971.”
(1) After section 4 of the Animals Act 1971 insert—
This section applies where a horse is in any public place in England
without lawful authority.
(2) The person to whom the horse belongs is liable for—
(a) any damage done by the horse to—
(i) the land, or
any property on it which is in the ownership or
possession of the owner or occupier of the land, and
any expenses which are reasonably incurred by a person
detaining the horse under section 7 or section 7A of this Act—
in keeping the horse while it cannot be restored to the
person to whom it belongs or while it is detained under
section 7 or 7A of this Act, or
(ii) in ascertaining to whom it belongs.
This is subject to the other provisions of this Act.
For the purposes of this section a horse belongs to the person in whose
possession it is.”
In section 4 (liability for damage and expenses due to trespassing livestock), at
the end insert—
This section does not apply in relation to horses in public places in
England (as to which, see section 4A).”
(3) In section 5 (exceptions from liability)—
(a) in the heading and in subsection (1), for “4” substitute “4A”;
(b) after subsection (5) insert—
A person is not liable under section 4A of this Act in respect of
a horse which strays from a highway when its presence there
was a lawful use of the highway.”;
in subsection (6), after “section 4 of this Act” insert “, or under section
4A of this Act so far as relating to a straying horse in England,”.
In section 10 (application of certain enactments to liability under sections 2 to
4), and in the heading to that section, for “4” substitute “4A”.
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This Act comes into force at the end of the period of two months beginning
with the day on which it is passed.
(2) This Act extends to England and Wales.
(3) This Act may be cited as the Control of Horses Act 2014.