AN MP is calling for City of York Council to confiscate all horses tethered dangerously on verges after Transport Minister Norman Baker confirmed local authorities had the necessary powers.

York Outer MP Julian Sturdy raised the issue of tethered horses with the Government Minister after two animals were recently killed when they broke free and were hit by vehicles on roads near York.

He said the Minister had now replied to outline the responsibility of both local authorities and police to take action against any horse owners who tethered their animals illegally on the roads.

Mr Baker said the Animals Act 1971 gave landowners powers to detain stray livestock, including horses, and recover expenses.

“The local authority could, therefore, detain any stray horses found on any local authority owned land,” he said.

Mr Sturdy claimed that for too long the issue of tethered horses had been “swept under the carpet by those who are simply too afraid of taking on those responsible for the tethering of horses on our roadsides”.

He said further horses would get loose and cause dangerous, perhaps even fatal, collisions, unless robust, tough and immediate action was taken.

“The local authority must remove all and any animals tethered in dangerous areas even if they look secure upon inspection,” he said.

His comments came after Osbaldwick councillor Mark Warters said another horse broke free and was seen running around the Link Road at Osbaldwick earlier this month.

Steve Waddington, assistant director of housing and public protection, said the council was looking into what appropriate course of action it could take, both in the short term and long term, to develop a solution to the problem.

“When we become aware of horses tethered at the roadside, we contact the owners if we are able to do so, to get them to move the horse(s) on,” he said.

“If the animal is clearly a danger to the highway, we work with the police and RSPCA to remove the danger as quickly as possible.”