You Cannot Keep A Horse In Your Living Room!
A long running case which started in 2011 has decided that a lady who chose to bring her horse indoors during the winter is not allowed to do so.
She was the owner of the house but her pet horse was removed on the grounds of the welfare of the horse not on the contraventions of several headings of the HHSRS (HHSRS is tenure independent.) Nice precedent for removing animals but not people from property based on unsuitability for welfare..
(We have to wonder whether HHSRS iHorse Health & Safety Rating System?) is fit for purpose).
Ms Noble, a house owner in Back (Lewis, Western Isles) moved a white Connemara pony into her living room in December 2011. In a press interview in January 2012 she said on being asked about it 'if I wanted to keep an elephant in my house I could. It is more cruel to keep a bird in a cage.' She said that the Scottish SPCA had found the horse in good condition. In October 2013 using the Animal health and welfare act the Western Isles Council taking advice from a vet said there was a potential for harm to the animal and required her to make improvements such as widening the door frames.As no specified improvements were carried out the council then in February 2014 seized the animal and retained it in their care. Ms Noble then brought an action in July 2017 reported 11 July 2017 to get the horse returned to her,her advocate acknowledging that a stable for it might be possible
Sheriff Sutherland determined in April 2018 that the actions of the Western Isles Council in 2013 onwards were not illegal and that the horse can be sold by the council and the proceeds used to defray costs of stabling. I cannot make out why on being asked to determine if the horse be returned to her the sheriff has felt it necessary to review the whole story, decide that the council's actions were legal and could sell the horse. Maybe he had to decide if all the actions taken by the council were legal and if they proved to be then the horse would become their property.,
This is of interest to landlords as well as house owners given that the HHSRS and enviromental legislation wrt to nuisance is tenure neutral. The following subject areas are worth a thought:
- Provided there were no animal welfare aspects a large animal can be kept in a dwelling. So use Animal health and welfare act if having problems with animals as the animal can be seized by the council and sold. Could they be seized by a landlord?
- Planning regulations were not breached when a large animal is kept indoors even if a house becomes a stable
- Hygiene, dampness, risk of electrical installation damage etc etc of the HHSRS were not affected.
- Environment legislation were not used.
.Court action by Ms Noble r 2017 https://www.pressandjournal.co.uk/fp/news/islands/western-isles/1279899/undefined-headline-2982/ .
Court conclusion from hearing approx 4th April 201 see, Hebrides News has it http://www.hebrides-news.com/horse-court-case-28318.html or the BBC had it http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-highlands-islands-43572691