Loose horses in spate of crashes

PUBLISHED: 11:47 11 December 2008 | UPDATED: 13:48 06 May 2010

FOLLOWING a spate of accidents caused by horses on a busy dual carriageway, a resident says it s only a matter of time before someone is killed. Mrs Lynn Myland of Barley Mow Lane, St Albans, says three horses have been killed or had to be put down on the

FOLLOWING a spate of accidents caused by horses on a busy dual carriageway, a resident says it's only a matter of time before someone is killed.

Mrs Lynn Myland of Barley Mow Lane, St Albans, says three horses have been killed or had to be put down on the A414 in as many months.

The most recent - last Wednesday -involved a horse which had to be destroyed after being struck by a van on the A414 near Colney Heath just before 8am causing traffic chaos for those travelling into St Albans from Hatfield.

The driver was unhurt but the road had to be closed until 1pm while vets tried to save the animal which was then removed by Herts Highways.

Mrs Myland said: "The distress this causes to the horse and drivers is enormous. Before too long there is going to be a major pile-up caused by these poor animals straying on to the road and people will be killed.

"The congestion this causes and inconvenience to commuters who can be held up for hours while the mess is cleared up is also unacceptable."

The stretch of road most affected is the section between the Colney Heath longabout and the University of Herts roundabout in Hatfield where around 60 horses graze in fields around this area.

Cllr Chris Brazier, ward councillor for Colney Heath, said: "This is a long-standing problem. The gipsy-owned horses are left in fields owned by Lafarge or Herts County Council. If we take expensive legal action to remove them they simply shift the horses from one field to another, then move them back again.

"The people who own the land obviously do not want to spend money fencing in livestock owned by the gipsies. Many police hours are wasted catching the horses and trying to trace the owners.

"The gipsies keep the horses to compete in trotting competitions which is the subject of heavy betting. Once the horses are past their prime they may be transported live to Europe and sold on for meat.

A county council spokesperson said its gipsy section owned two paddocks either side of the Barley Mow travellers' site where residents were allowed to keep ponies.

He said: "Following concerns expressed about ponies going astray, we secured the field to prevent them escaping. Licences have also been issued in order to regulate the grazing."

A spokesperson for the RSPCA said that in the last year alone nine horses in poor condition had been removed from the fields around the longabout to animal centres because of welfare concerns.

She said: "We regularly receive complaints that animals are being tethered in fields with no food or water but we can't remove animals unless a vet supports our inspectors that the animal is suffering or is likely to suffer.

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