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Lottii 08-05-2010 09:52 AM

UK people - if horse picked up neglected, rights of ownership?
 
Hi, just asking out of interest as we were in this situation a while ago.

We found a horse loose on the side of a dual carriageway, phoned the police several times as the said they would come and didn't. Eventually they said they had driven past and not seen him on the road (as we had taken him onto the verge and had an old bag handle we had found round his neck!) they basicallly weren't responsible. Then they said they had found the owner and the owner would be there in 20 mins. Over an hour later we went and got out horsebox and took him home. As soon as he was settled in stable we called the RSPCA and then Redwings. RSPCA said they could come and look at him the next day. Late that evening we recieved a call from the neighboring county's police (not the one we had dealt with already) saying we had been reported for stealing a horse, we explained the situation and they left us alone. The RSPCA came and checked him, saying he was neglected (he had mites, matted fur and underweight) but not neglected enough to prosecute if the owners came forwards. The owners were contacted and a couple of days later the RSPCA guy came and took him to their field, with a 7 day follow up to get him veterinary care.

What I am basically wondering, is if the owner had not come forward, would we have been legally able to keep him, or would the RSPCA or similar had to have taken him.

Thanks and sorry it is a bit long!

Santa 08-06-2010 08:55 AM

Think RSPCA or police could prosecute under the Highways Act 1980 for straying onto the highway, or the Protection Against Cruel Tethering Act 1988 (horse had a plastic bag around its neck -had it been tethered ?)
I have a rescue horse that was saved at the point of death from starvation and neglect simply because he and his companions wandered out onto the road and the RSPCA were able to take them and rehome, the owner was later prosecuted and imprisoned.
I do feel that sometimes with certain members of the horse community, police and animal welfare run scared of the owners. However, if you had kept the horse, the owners may have come to your yard and been quite intimidating. Regarding the law of ownership, isn't it still true that possession is 9/10ths of the law and the owner would have to go to court to prove ownership ?
That aside, well done for coming to the aid of the horse and going to all that trouble. Our police are not very interested in horse problems unless they're galloping down the motorway.

speedy da fish 08-06-2010 09:44 AM

Hmm... its hard to explain but if you had left him there and the RSPCA had picked him up, then yes, you would probably would have been able to give him a home but because you took ('stole') him, they didnt allow it. Technically you did steal him (as the law goes) but I think anyone would have done the same thing.

jimmy 08-08-2010 08:06 AM

i,m sorry but you just can,t keep anybodies horse,sometimes as part of the breaking process i tether horses close to main roads to get them used to traffic,and sometimes people do let them loose how ever i do leave my tel number with local police

Count Jackula 08-08-2010 08:25 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by speedy da fish (Post 711419)
Hmm... its hard to explain but if you had left him there and the RSPCA had picked him up, then yes, you would probably would have been able to give him a home but because you took ('stole') him, they didnt allow it. Technically you did steal him (as the law goes) but I think anyone would have done the same thing.

:shock: You can't keep other people's property full stop, whether it is a car, a bicycle, a dog or a horse. Even rescues and the RSPCA can't just keep and then rehome other people's animals, they have to be signed over to them or it is still theft. The law is quite specific, even as part of cruelty cases/prosecutions when animals are seized they have to legally be signed over or considered abandoned by the previous owners after a certain time period.

Lottii 08-12-2010 01:52 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jimmy (Post 712921)
i,m sorry but you just can,t keep anybodies horse,sometimes as part of the breaking process i tether horses close to main roads to get them used to traffic,and sometimes people do let them loose how ever i do leave my tel number with local police

I was not so worried about the fact this horse was loose, more the condition it was in!

Thanks everyone. I figured it would be "stealing" but just wanted to check.


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