Calls for action after horse’s death

Buster. SUS-160604-090649001
Buster. SUS-160604-090649001

The owners of a horse that died after being hit by a car on the A26 have said more needs to be done to make sure another similar tragedy doesn’t happen in future.

The cob was one of three horses to let themselves out through a footpath gate left open by someone walking through the land on Monday, November 23, 2015.

Gates to the field. SUS-160604-090715001

Gates to the field. SUS-160604-090715001

Now, the horse’s devastated owners are calling on East Sussex County Council to take more action to stop any similar incidents like this happening again in future.

Zoe Small said: “My husband’s horse, Buster, was hit and killed by a car on the A26. This was due to walkers propping open the gates on the public footpath.

“He was a super star of a cob who anyone could ride – he taught my husband and my two disabled children. He was kind and gentle with everyone he met.

“We contacted East Sussex County Council regarding the incident, as the week after we lost Buster, the public let the sheep out too.

“The council stated that although the path has their badge on and can’t be blocked or shut, it is not their responsibility to install, maintain or provide gates.

“Also, they said while it’s inconvenient and inconsiderate of the public who use their footpath, it’s nothing to do with them.

“We have all our gates locked and signs asking for footpath gates to be closed.”

An East Sussex County Council spokesman said: “We were extremely sorry to learn of the incident which led to the death of the horse on the A26 at Isfield.

“We have since been in communication with the owners to advise on measures to counter the risk of gates being left open by the public. We are therefore very concerned by the report of further problems with sheep being allowed to escape.

“The vast majority of walkers on rural paths responsibly close gates, and the county council is not liable for the carelessness of a small number of individuals whose actions result in these very serious incidents.

“Where there are problems, we will always work with the landowner to resolve them.

“The law stipulates the landowner must bear the cost of livestock control and, unfortunately, only measures such as additional fencing or kissing gates can prevent the risk. In this instance we have recommended installing a kissing gate and await a response from the landowner.”

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