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Abandoning horses on public/private land without the permission of the land owner is known as 'fly grazing.' If this happens, the police must be notified of this within 24 hours and the owners have up to 4 days to reclaim their horses. (previously it was 14 days).

Before taking action to remove the horses, you should enquire whether your neighbours or anyone locally know who the animals belong to. If, after the 4 days nobody reclaims the animals, the land owners have a much wider range of options as to what to do with them. Though they can still choose to sell them at auction, they can also choose to re home seized horses privately or to charities, sell them privately or as a last resort they can have the animals humanely euthanised . Any excess money will remain recoverable with the owner.

You will be responsible for the control and welfare of the animals during the time that they are detained on your land and will need to make sure that they are fed and have access to water. If there is no water supply in the area where the horses are, or you have any other concerns regarding the welfare of the animals, you should raise your concerns with the RSPCA.

For more information please see the link in related information.

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Answers in this FAQ section are provided by the 'Ask the Police' website. Produced by the Police National Legal Database (PNLD) team, 'Ask the Police' is an official police site approved by the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC). All FAQ answers are © PNLD.