Horses being left in 'appalling' conditions, councillor claims

Travellers who own horses will not need an animal licence, because the licences do not apply to personal property.
Travellers who own horses will not need an animal licence, because the licences do not apply to personal property.

Horses are being kept in "appalling" condiitons in parts of the Wakefield district, a Labour councillor has claimed.

Yvonne Crewe, who represents the Airedale and Ferry Fryston ward, said that one horse belonging to a group of travellers in her local area had recently died.

Councillor Yvonne Crewe

Councillor Yvonne Crewe

Coun Crewe made her comments during a licensing committee meeting, where new legislation for those involved in animal businesses was being discussed.

At the behest of the government, the council will give the likes of dog kennels, catteries and horse riding instructors a 'star rating' between one and five.

But the legislation will not apply pet owners who keep animals as personal property and don't make a profit from them.

Coun Crewe asked: "Do travellers have to licence their horses? We've got a lot in our area, and we've had one that died recently?

She added: "Some of the horses are living in appalling conditions."

In response, council officer Gary Blenkinsop said: "They don't have to licence their horse if it belongs to them.

"This (legislation) is more for those who hire their horses out to let kids go riding and things like that."

Mr Blenkinsop likened the new star ratings to the food hygiene scores given to takeaways and restaurants by the Food Standards Agency (FSA).

While individual animal licences used to be reviewed every 12 months by the council, businesses will now be given three year permits if they achieve a five star rating.

Those with lower standards will be given shorter licences.

An estimated 131 premises across the Wakefield district are expected to be affected by the changes.

Mr Blenkinsop said it was hoped the new rules would improve the welfare animals.

He added: "We’re not here to catch licence holders out. We just want to make sure standards are as high as they can be.

"We want to make sure that people who need a licence are as informed as thye need to be.

"If licence holders disagree with the star rating they've been given, there is an appeals process they can go through."

Local Democracy Reporting Service