All wild horses are magnificent and the horses on the Outer Banks in North Carolina are no exception. The Corolla Wild Horse Fund's entire mission is to protect and preserve the last remaining herd of Spanish Mustangs on the northern Outer Banks. The Colonial Spanish Mustang is on the Critical Breed list of the American Livestock Conservancy and on the Critical list of the Equus Survival Trust.
The nonprofit Corolla Wild Horse Fund protects and manages a herd of nearly 100 on Corolla.
So why are off-leash pets allowed to harass them?
All dog owners know better than to let their dogs chase a wild horse or any horse as they might get kicked or worse sent to the emergency hospital! I always hear stories about a dog getting too close to a horse that didn't appreciate it and was badly injured.
The Corolla Wild Horse Fund's herd manager posted a video on their Facebook page to demonstrate what's happening and to reinforce the leash law. Multiple cases have been reported of dogs harassing these horses!
The Charlotte Observer tells us after an interview with the herd manager,
"In one case, we were told that a dog actually bit one of the horses. This is so incredibly dangerous, for both the dog and the horses. This dog's life was certainly in danger and he is very lucky that the stallion did not severely injure or kill him. It's also lucky that no humans were injured during this incident. Spooked, defensive horses are unpredictable and could have turned that aggression towards people, or they could have trampled beachgoers."
It's clear in the video this shouldn't be allowed!
There have been three instances in the last week (that we know about) where off-leash dogs have been seen chasing and harrassing the horses. In one case, we were told that a dog actually bit one of the horses. This is so incredibly dangerous, for both the dog and the horses. This dog's life was certainly in danger and he is very lucky that the stallion did not severely injure or kill him. It's also lucky that no humans were injured during this incident. Spooked, defensive horses are unpredictable and could have turned that aggression towards people, or they could have trampled beachgoers. Continued harrassment could make the horses aggressive towards dogs even if they aren't provoked. We'd like to remind everyone that there is a county-wide leash law, stating that dogs must be leashed at all times. You can find the leash law here, in Chapter III, Article IV: https://library.municode.com/nc/currituck_county/codes/code_of_ordinances?nodeId=COOR_CH3AN The wild horse ordinance is in the same chapter, article II. If you witness an incident like this, please immediately call the Currituck County non-emergency number at 252-232-2216. You can also contact CWHF at 252-453-8002. Please do not put your pets, the horses, or yourself in danger like this. It is illegal, irresponsible, and negligent. (Please remember that CWHF has no enforcement capabilities. We are not able to ticket this person or do anything besides try and educate the public on why this is so dangerous. We count on you to report these types of incidents to law enforcement.)
Posted by Corolla Wild Horse Fund on Monday, May 13, 2019
It is illegal for dogs to roam unleashed even on beaches. According to the site VisitCurrituck.com, it's also illegal for people to get within 50 feet of the wild horses.
The wild horses of Corolla are protected and pet owners should be respectful of the rules highlighted here for the northern beaches. The Outer Banks' wild horses are thriving and they don't need our dogs in their personal space! I'm sure at some point having dogs on the beach at all will be a privilege pet owners lose in the near future.
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