Birmingham & Black Country

Tipton horses to be sold at auction if not reclaimed

Stray and illegally tethered horses in the West Midlands that have been seized will be sold if they are not reclaimed, according to Sandwell Council.

The Labour-controlled authority started removing horses from Tipton in March.

The council said bailiffs keep them for up to 20 days before sending them to auction if they are not claimed for a penalty charge of around £2,000.

Horse owners have been campaigning to preserve the tradition of legal tethering in public green spaces.

Malcolm Garrett, who owns six horses, said: "[They] were around here before the council was even born I suppose, and houses were built so I don't agree with trying to change the way it is in the Black Country.

"They're my life to be honest, they're all I work for - my horses and my family."

The council said it introduced a strict no grazing policy across all of its parks and green spaces to comply with health and safety regulations and after complaints from residents.

Auctioned off

Seized horses can be retrieved by owners but only at a cost of £2,000.

A spokesman from the council said: "The bailiffs keep the horses for up to 20 days in which time the owner can claim them back if they produce the correct ownership documents.

"If that period has expired the horses are then sent to auction."

When the crackdown was announced, the council said up to 60 horses were grazing or left untethered in Tipton and up to 10 were roaming free.

Sandwell said the bailiffs have removed 16 horses but only one has been reclaimed by its owner.

The council has offered horse owners the Sandwell Valley Country Park as alternative grazing land, but it is currently full with a waiting list of five years.

The spokesman said there were no plans to offer any more alternative land for the horse owners.

Inside Out is broadcasting an investigation into the Tipton horses on Monday, 7 November on BBC One in the West Midlands and Sky Channel 979 at 19:30 GMT.

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