Horses 'destroyed' by council following four-hour chase

Watford Observer: Ann Shaw Ann Shaw

The leader of Three Rivers District Council has defended the decision to shoot two stray horses after staff failed to capture them following a four-hour attempt.

Two stray horses were reported to police after being spotted galloping in Leavesden Country Park on Tuesday, March 4, by a member of the public.

District council officers were also alerted to the animals roaming free in the park unsupervised.

Despite efforts, district council staff, Hertfordshire Constabulary, and a horse welfare agency, were unable to round up the animals, and they were shot dead.

Figures obtained by the Watford Observer showed that the council "destroyed" eleven out of the 14 stray horses it captured last year.

Liberal Democrat leader, Ann Shaw, said the four-hour attempt to capture the animals in Leavesden Country Park signified a "huge effort by the council".

In a statement released by Three Rivers, councillor Shaw, explained that: "They (the horses) would not allow themselves to be approached or tempted by food. They appeared to be wild.

"Council staff proposed to build a corral the next morning and try and get control that way, but it would have meant leaving the ponies loose overnight and the police were very concerned about the danger of them going onto local roads.

"Eventually it was reluctantly decided that they must be put down and a slaughter man was called in. Each animal was killed with a single shot quickly and humanely under careful supervision.

"Assistance was provided by the horse welfare agency. The site was carefully cleaned the next morning. Sand was put over the disturbed area and later removed."

 

The horses were described as being an "immediate danger" to walkers and children, and there were concerns that they would stray onto local roads.

Councillor Shaw has stood by the decision to kill the horses.

She said: "What we usually do, under our Green Yard Scheme, is to capture them but we couldn’t even get to them.

"There was a huge effort by the council and by the police and equine agency. We were trying for four hours and that is a long time. It was getting dark.

"What else could they have done?"

No-one has since come forward to report missing animals. When horses are left unattended on council land, they are held 14 days and destroyed if no home can be found.

An FOI submitted by the Watford Observer revealed that, between January 2009 and January 2014, a total of 42 horses have been impounded within Three Rivers.

In 2013, 14 horses were captured in South Oxhey, with 11 being destroyed after no-one reclaimed them.

Three horses were found in Abbots Langely in January. If no one claimed them within two weeks, they too would have been destroyed. The fate of these horses has not been confirmed.

Comments (8)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

10:32am Fri 28 Mar 14

Hairy Hornet says...

What a lovely picture! All she needs is a cat sat purring on her lap.
What a lovely picture! All she needs is a cat sat purring on her lap. Hairy Hornet
  • Score: 3

10:50am Fri 28 Mar 14

garston tony says...

So in essence she is admitting that the council just gave up early and took an easy option. If the horses where shot after four hours that would indicate that the decision to do this was taken earlier, the slaugther man had to make his way there didnt he and set himself up once he arrived. That time could have been spent trying to build that coral couldnt it?

Fair enough it was getting dark so therefore going to be harder to control these horses so I can see that there may have been an increased danger if they got onto a road, but I cant see the argument of people in the park being in danger being totally valid seeing as the horses werent apperently letting anyone get near them. Maybe a night in the park would have seen the more relaxed and less skittish in the morning?

But ultimately if they could be shot with a bullet, why couldnt they have been shot with a tranquiliser gun?

It may have all come to the same end if the horses had been caught and not claimed/rehoused within 14 days but at least the council would have done the right thing
So in essence she is admitting that the council just gave up early and took an easy option. If the horses where shot after four hours that would indicate that the decision to do this was taken earlier, the slaugther man had to make his way there didnt he and set himself up once he arrived. That time could have been spent trying to build that coral couldnt it? Fair enough it was getting dark so therefore going to be harder to control these horses so I can see that there may have been an increased danger if they got onto a road, but I cant see the argument of people in the park being in danger being totally valid seeing as the horses werent apperently letting anyone get near them. Maybe a night in the park would have seen the more relaxed and less skittish in the morning? But ultimately if they could be shot with a bullet, why couldnt they have been shot with a tranquiliser gun? It may have all come to the same end if the horses had been caught and not claimed/rehoused within 14 days but at least the council would have done the right thing garston tony
  • Score: 7

11:36am Fri 28 Mar 14

overhere says...

Four stray horses that wouldn't allow humans to approach them, well looked after horses wouldn't have been in this situation, the cuncil were quite right to avert a situation that could have had serious consequences.

No prizes for guessing who the horses probably belonged to.
Four stray horses that wouldn't allow humans to approach them, well looked after horses wouldn't have been in this situation, the cuncil were quite right to avert a situation that could have had serious consequences. No prizes for guessing who the horses probably belonged to. overhere
  • Score: -5

11:51am Fri 28 Mar 14

Sara says...

I'm no expert, but the comment from the equine charity who were trying to assist was that the horses were more likely to cause damage partly tranquillised. I do know that it can be quite dangerous to a horse to tranquilise them whilst they are running around, as they can damage themselves when they fall down.

I spent quite a lot of time in my childhood with horses and am really sad about this, but if they had bolted into a child or caused an accident on the road, people would have accused the council of putting the horses' lives before that of humans.

The council doesn't employ its own horse expert, so it relied and acted upon the opinions of independent experts, including the police and equine groups.
I'm no expert, but the comment from the equine charity who were trying to assist was that the horses were more likely to cause damage partly tranquillised. I do know that it can be quite dangerous to a horse to tranquilise them whilst they are running around, as they can damage themselves when they fall down. I spent quite a lot of time in my childhood with horses and am really sad about this, but if they had bolted into a child or caused an accident on the road, people would have accused the council of putting the horses' lives before that of humans. The council doesn't employ its own horse expert, so it relied and acted upon the opinions of independent experts, including the police and equine groups. Sara
  • Score: 1

2:56pm Fri 28 Mar 14

G_Whiz says...

One minute the Liberals are bending over backwards to make excuses for travellers and their antics, the next they are shooting their horses!

Oh, the irony!.

But, i suppose that's always what Liberal naivety leads to!
One minute the Liberals are bending over backwards to make excuses for travellers and their antics, the next they are shooting their horses! Oh, the irony!. But, i suppose that's always what Liberal naivety leads to! G_Whiz
  • Score: 3

10:24pm Fri 28 Mar 14

Vanah.Horses says...

110 acre country park - is bigger than 70 football pitches?
Had these horses been left to graze quietly until more help arrived from a local riding school or livery yard with experienced horse handlers, then these horses COULD have been safely rounded up and caught.
Our facebook wall is always full of horses (abandoned / escaped / dumped) and mostly all semi-feral, yet we never hear of any being shot as dangerous.
It is nonsense.
We do not know who the equine agency is but it is certainly NOT a reputable equine rescue who is used to dealing with stray horses or these horses would not have been chased by a quad or shot.

This council certianly have a high death toll of horses dont they?
facebook.com / vanah.horses
110 acre country park - is bigger than 70 football pitches? Had these horses been left to graze quietly until more help arrived from a local riding school or livery yard with experienced horse handlers, then these horses COULD have been safely rounded up and caught. Our facebook wall is always full of horses (abandoned / escaped / dumped) and mostly all semi-feral, yet we never hear of any being shot as dangerous. It is nonsense. We do not know who the equine agency is but it is certainly NOT a reputable equine rescue who is used to dealing with stray horses or these horses would not have been chased by a quad or shot. This council certianly have a high death toll of horses dont they? facebook.com / vanah.horses Vanah.Horses
  • Score: 7

7:49pm Sun 30 Mar 14

mummy_1 says...

Vanah.Horses wrote:
110 acre country park - is bigger than 70 football pitches?
Had these horses been left to graze quietly until more help arrived from a local riding school or livery yard with experienced horse handlers, then these horses COULD have been safely rounded up and caught.
Our facebook wall is always full of horses (abandoned / escaped / dumped) and mostly all semi-feral, yet we never hear of any being shot as dangerous.
It is nonsense.
We do not know who the equine agency is but it is certainly NOT a reputable equine rescue who is used to dealing with stray horses or these horses would not have been chased by a quad or shot.

This council certianly have a high death toll of horses dont they?
facebook.com / vanah.horses
This is not private land where everyone in the area can be accounted for and isolated so the horses can graze until such time an experienced horse handler could be located....
[quote][p][bold]Vanah.Horses[/bold] wrote: 110 acre country park - is bigger than 70 football pitches? Had these horses been left to graze quietly until more help arrived from a local riding school or livery yard with experienced horse handlers, then these horses COULD have been safely rounded up and caught. Our facebook wall is always full of horses (abandoned / escaped / dumped) and mostly all semi-feral, yet we never hear of any being shot as dangerous. It is nonsense. We do not know who the equine agency is but it is certainly NOT a reputable equine rescue who is used to dealing with stray horses or these horses would not have been chased by a quad or shot. This council certianly have a high death toll of horses dont they? facebook.com / vanah.horses[/p][/quote]This is not private land where everyone in the area can be accounted for and isolated so the horses can graze until such time an experienced horse handler could be located.... mummy_1
  • Score: 2

5:19pm Mon 31 Mar 14

BassZZZZZini says...

Sorry, not enough mentions of Ann Shaw this week so I refuse to believe she had anything to do with this until we have updates on her attending the opening of a packet of fags and a tally of how many sick children in hospital she has saved with the marvellousness of her presence...
Sorry, not enough mentions of Ann Shaw this week so I refuse to believe she had anything to do with this until we have updates on her attending the opening of a packet of fags and a tally of how many sick children in hospital she has saved with the marvellousness of her presence... BassZZZZZini
  • Score: 0

Comments are closed on this article.

click2find

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree