Solicitor, Rebecca Stojak, of Shakespeare Matrineau answers the question ‘If my horse escapes from his field can someone sell him?’:

The new law (“legislation”) is “The Control of Horses Act 2015”; this new act came into force on 26 May 2015 and applies in England (there’s similar legislation being planned in Scotland and Northern Ireland and in some parts of Wales). The new act has combined several different laws that were quite complex and unfortunately had loopholes that were exploited by less than honest horse owners. The new act does have safeguards in place to protect responsible horse owners.

The new act allows land owners to remove a horse left on their land to a safe place immediately. Police and the owners of the horses must be notified by the land owner within 24 hours of the horse being removed. It’s really important that your horse can be identified e.g. via their freeze mark and, or microchip. You should also make sure that your details are as up to date as possible with the passport issuing organisation so that contacting you is as easy as possible.

If no one claims ownership of the horse in four working days the land owner can then decide what to do with the horse (this includes selling it on). If you realise your horse is missing you should contact your local police (using their non-emergency number) so that you can be reunited with him as soon as possible.