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Heatwave: Lack of grass causes horses to stray in Kent

By Steve Waite

An increase in the number of horses straying onto roads has been linked to a lack of grass caused by the heatwave.

Police say they seized six strays in Gravesend and another eight in Ashford this summer.

They were also called to an accident near Hartlip last month where a horse that had strayed onto a road had been hit by a car and had to be put down.

A horse galloping. Stock image
A horse galloping. Stock image

A police spokesman said: “Officers attended along with a vet and due to the injuries sustained by the horse it was humanly destroyed.”

Posters have been put up where the animals were seized to find the owners and remind them to make sure fences are secure.

Kent police has a new horse seizure policy to locate owners of strays.

Rural Inspector Dave Smith said: “Since the new horse seizure policy was introduced in November 2017 the Rural Liaison Team has efficiently managed the retention of seized horses in Kent.

“By ensuring seized horses are only in our possession for a maximum of 21 days, we have seen significant financial savings for Kent Police.

“When owners come forward to claim horses found straying on the highway, to cover recovery fees, they are required to pay a fixed tariff in cash before horses are returned.”

Rural PC Darren Reed was involved in a seizure of a horse in the Sittingbourne area, which was loose on the road, and a similar seizure in Maidstone.

Officers put Horse Seizure Notices up nearby to try to identify the owner.

Images were also circulated on social media and the Kent Police Twitter page.

As no owners came forward and 21 days passed, the horses will be rehomed.

Eighteen horses have been seized since the new policy started, with six returned to owners, 10 rehomed and two the subject of continuing inquiries.

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