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Charity calls on drivers to slow down after spate of pony deaths on Dartmoor roads

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: January 28, 2013

  • A dead pony on the verge opposite a warning sign on Dartmoor – there have been eight fatal pony-related road accidents on the moor in the last six weeks

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An equine charity is calling for drivers to drive with "Moor Care" after reports of eight fatal pony related road accidents in the last six weeks.

Dartmoor-based South West Equine Protection (SWEP) confirmed there have been six cases in December and two this month so far.

"We desperately want to publicise the need for drivers to slow down, particularly on the roads from Yelverton to Princetown and Tavistock to Two Bridges," said SWEP's welfare officer, Diane Wilson who attended the scene of the latest victim.

"Two lives were destroyed as she was an in-foal mare. Ironically she was hit and knocked down directly opposite the flashing slow down speed sign which states that there are animals on the road. Although it appears that the sign is not working no horse deserves to die like this and keeping driving speeds down will reduce the number of incidents."

Mrs Wilson added: "Dartmoor Hill ponies are robust creatures and hitting one with enough speed to kill it outright is sure to damage vehicles and possibly the drivers and passengers. You get some cases where the driver just drives off and an animal can be left injured or dying for some considerable time. It is all so unnecessary."

She also highlighted that drivers need to be aware at this time when the roads are gritted as the ponies are drawn by the salt which is rich in minerals and also flavours the grass on the verge.

SWEP founder Maureen Rolls expressed her concerns at the recent RTA's involving ponies.

"It's due to a combination of things – drivers' speeds; the shorter days and poorer visibility – which all play their part.

"People have to realise that the moorland roads are not just for cars. There will always be livestock grazing close by and therefore you must expect the unexpected but sadly some don't see the dangers until it is too late. It is therefore crucial to keep your speed down at least then the driver might be able to brake in time and not injure the pony or themselves."

Pony keeper and founder of Friends of the Dartmoor Hill Pony Association Charlotte Faulkner stressed the importance of reporting accidents with livestock immediately.

"All the ponies are owned and we care about them. It's essential we are informed straight away so we can find the pony and deal with it accordingly."

Among its many initiatives, the Moor Care campaign aims to make drivers think ahead and be aware of what is around them, as well as in front and behind and to observe the speed limits.

To report an accident call the police on 101 or the Dartmoor Livestock Protection Society on 07873 587561.

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9 comments

  • TrubblnStrife  |  January 29 2013, 12:05PM

    I have to agree with hantsbel – a National Park isn't the place for fast driving, and I've been appalled at some of the speeds I've seen people doing on Dartmoor roads. These drivers are a menace not only to the animals, but to other people and themselves. It's the grazing animals that have shaped the beautiful area we're lucky enough to live in, so let's show some respect to them, their owners and the Dartmoor community.

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  • Stuboy13  |  January 29 2013, 9:03AM

    @ hantsbel; How exactly do cattle grids slow people down?

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  • catdaddy1214  |  January 28 2013, 6:54PM

    Moor burgers?

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  • hantsbel  |  January 28 2013, 3:09PM

    Poor ponies, and what ignorant, thoughtless drivers! Surely its common courtesy to slow down for wild animals in such areas, just as responsible drivers slow down for horse riders. Cattle grids should be installed as in the New Forest. If you are in that much of a hurry dont drive through a National park!

    Rate   11
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  • TheTaxpayer  |  January 28 2013, 12:44PM

    it's not the ponies that are the problem it's the bloody sheep that just run into the side of your car as I stopped to let some cross the road and one just run in to the side of my car and caused £200 of damage and I couldn't claim of the farmer as it was on Dartmoor and the animals roam free if I had a gun with me I would have shot it as compensation for the damage it caused to my car.

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  • Stuboy13  |  January 28 2013, 11:03AM

    Blame the drivers as usual. Maybe the ponies should take 'moor care' too instead of wandering all over the road probably drunk on home-brew.

    Rate   -20
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  • SidneyNuff  |  January 28 2013, 10:59AM

    It's the same in the towns and cities. Hatchback, large exhaust, bigger wheels, stripe down the side. And they're off. In the towns and cities it would be a picture of a five year old child laying there. We have replaced traffic police with speed cameras and traffic wardens. And we have replaced punishment with tea and sympathy.

    Rate   14
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  • Foldart  |  January 28 2013, 10:38AM

    And most of them live within spitting distance of the moor. Perhaps a few speed-humps on the roads out there would help the speeders to think twice.

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  • harrydylan  |  January 28 2013, 9:24AM

    So very, very sad. It's not rocket science to realise the dangers posed to the animals on Dartmoor by selfish, thoughtless dirvers/riders yet still you see idiots using the routes in question as some sort of personal race track.

    Rate   25
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