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BRINGING in contractors to catch stray horses in Blaenau Gwent has been welcomed by a councillor.

At Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council’s Community Services scrutiny committee, on Monday, November 15, councillors were given an update on how the authority will tackle the issue of illegal fly grazing.

This has been a problem in the county borough for many years, and earlier this year councillors had wanted to see the the council’s Animal Impounding Service which ended in 2014/15 due to cuts, reinstated to deal with the issues.

Between February 1 and May 7, Blaenau Gwent received 2,189 calls to deal with straying animals.

Under the Control of Horses (Wales) Act 2014, local authorities have the right to seize and impound horses which stray onto roads or public places.

But Blaenau Gwent’s neighbourhood services manager, Mathew Stent explained the cost of implementing this this would fall onto the Community Services department and that there is no money to pay for this, especially if the horses are not reclaimed by their owners.

Mr Stent said: “As the authority does not retain the manpower, plant and storage facilities to remove horses it would have to use a private contractor to conduct this work.

“A quotation has been recently received which sets out the costs involved with this work.”

The quote has been kept confidential.

But report in the summer suggested that if the impounding service were to be restored now, it would cost the council in the region of £100,000 per year.

Cllr Lisa Winnett said: “I welcome this report and I feel it’s a service we really need brought back.”

Cllr Winnett said that she had discussions on this issue with the British Horse Society who recommend that the council have a horse warden.

Cllr Winnett said: “Not only to deal with the horse issues but with the farming community, and horse breeders.

“I think we could even go further with it regarding the cows and sheep.

“I know when we had so many millions of cuts we got rid of the pound because it wasn’t a statutory item.

“The problem we had with straying animals wasn’t anywhere near as bad then as what we’ve got now, it’s getting out of hand and dangerous.”

Cllr Winnet pointed out that Cardiff City Council had a horse warden.

“I know it’s an extra expense, but I feel it’s a good model to follow and brings it all back in house and I feel we need it,” said Cllr Winnett.

The committee agreed to support the use of contractors and the report will go on to be discussed by the Executive committee in December.



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