Fly grazing or trespassing of horses - the law 

The Animals Act 1971 as amended by The Control of Horses Act 2015

Further details on the Animals Act 1971

7B Powers of freeholders and occupiers in England to detain horses
  1. This section applies where a horse is on any land in England without lawful authority
  2. The horse may be detained:
    • (a) in any case, by the occupier of the land, and
    • (b) if the freeholder is not the occupier, by the freeholder with the occupier’s consent
  3. Section 7C contains further provision about detention under this section
7C Detention of horses under sections 7A and 7B
  1. This section applies where a horse is detained under section 7A or 7B
  2. The right to detain the horse ceases at the end of the period of 24 hours beginning with the time when it is first detained unless, within that period, the person detaining the horse gives notice of the detention to:
    • (a) the officer in charge of a police station, and
    • (b) if the person detaining the horse knows to whom the horse belongs, that person
  3. Where notice is given under subsection (2), the right to detain the horse ceases if, within the period of 96 hours beginning with the time when it is first detained, the person entitled to possession of the horse:
    • (a) claims it, and
    • (b) complies with the condition in subsection (4)
  4. The condition is that the person tenders to each person with a claim under section 4A in respect of the horse such amount as is sufficient to satisfy the claim
  5. If by the end of the 96 hour period referred to in subsection (3) the right to detain the horse has not ceased under this section:
    • (a) ownership of the horse passes to the person detaining the horse, and
    • (b) accordingly, the person detaining the horse may dispose of it by selling it, arranging for it to be destroyed or in any other way
  6. Where a horse is sold under this section and the proceeds of sale, less the costs of the sale and any costs incurred in connection with it, exceed the amount of any claims under section 4A in respect of the horse, the excess is recoverable from the person detaining the horse by the person who would have been entitled to possession of the horse but for this section
  7. A person detaining a horse under this section is liable for any damage caused to it by a failure to treat it with reasonable care and supply it with adequate food and water while it is so detained.
  8. References in this section to a claim under section 4A in respect of any horse do not include a claim under that section for damage done by or expenses incurred in respect of the horse before it was on the land without lawful authority
  9. In calculating a period of 96 hours for the purposes of this section, disregard any time falling on:
    • (a) a Saturday or Sunday,
    • (b) Good Friday or Christmas Day, or
    • (c) a day which is a bank holiday in England and Wales under the Banking and Financial Dealings Act 1971
4A Liability for damage and expenses due to horses on land in England without lawful authority
  1. This section applies where a horse is on any land in England without lawful authority.
  2. The person to whom the horse belongs is liable for:
    • (a) any damage done by the horse to:
      • (i) the land, or
      • (ii) any property on it which is in the ownership or possession of the freeholder or occupier of the land, and
    • (b) any expenses which are reasonably incurred by a person detaining the horse under section 7A or 7B of this Act:
      • (i) in keeping the horse while it cannot be restored to the person to whom it belongs or while it is detained under section 7A or 7B of this Act, or
      • (ii) in ascertaining to whom it belongs.
    • This is subject to the other provisions of this Act.
  3. For the purposes of this section a horse belongs to the person in whose possession it is.