Horse left distressed by out of control dogs, MP suggests stricter laws for pet owners

Video report contains images of a horse in distress

A horse rider has spoken of her stallion's distress after being chased by a pack of out of control dogs.

Charlotte Hutt was on a bridleway on the South Downs near Brighton when the animals approached Stanice.

The video's prompted one MP to suggest tighter laws are needed which would require dogs to be on leads at all times.

Charlotte, who has been riding for 13 years, says the owners appeared to be oblivious to the situation as the dogs ran back and forth,

"The owners slowly walked over, they were in no rush even though they saw us struggling.

"It definitely could've been a lot worse my horse was very spooked by them, the horse could've kicked the dog, he didn't want him by his feet so he was kicking out and it could've easily caught him and that would've killed the dog.

"I've literally been riding for 13 years and I've never had that bad experience."

The pack of dogs repeatedly chased the horse Credit:

Paula Noble runs Sussex Riding School and says horses can be particularly sensitive,

"It's the suddenness horses don't like coming out of nowhere.

"It's the noise and the fact they're round the back legs of a horse, if they go round the back legs this is a problem. You've also got owners calling them.

"If it had been an inexperienced rider the situation could've escalated quicker and worse. The horse looks to the rider for confidence quite often and so if you have an inexperienced rider they could've been unseated quite quickly, the horse is looking for someone to give it confidence and it's not there.

"The dogs can sense fear and there you would have a situation with potentially serious consequences.

  • Tougher laws?

Dog owners that do not keep their animals under control can go to prison, be fined, be banned from owning pets and have their dog destroyed.

With lockdown seeing more dog walkers out and about, leading to an increase in incidents of animals being worried by dogs, Lewes MP Maria Caulfield suggests tougher laws could be the way to go.

"What may need to happen is you need to keep your dog on a lead. That's not ideally where we want to go.

"There are many many cases happening and it's only a matter of time before a tragic incident does occur and that's not what we want to see."

"If owners can keep their dogs under control within the current laws they wouldn't be a need for this."

Advice for dog owners

Rory Hamilton runs Tigers Dog Walking, a professional dog walking business in and around Burgess Hill,

He says dog owners should:

  • Be constantly thinking of hazards coming up

  • If you can't see round the corner call your dog in

  • If you see a horse coming make yourself known and get your dog under control and remain nice and calm and allow them to come past. Even say 'hello'

  • Be calm - if you're anxious your dog will know your anxious - be calm

  • Research areas where you are walking

  • If you're unsure keep your dog on a lead at all times

Thankfully nobody was injured during the incident recorded by Charlotte but she feels the distress could've been avoided.