Hampshire & Isle of Wight

New Forest garages urged to report animal crash damage

Poster distributed to garages and workshops in the New Forest
Image caption The pony featured in the leaflet suffered three broken legs after being hit by a car that failed to stop

Mechanics are being encouraged to pass on details of motorists whose cars they suspect of being involved in accidents with animals in the New Forest.

Garages have been sent leaflets featuring a photo of a pony which had three legs broken in a hit-and-run.

Rewards for information that leads to a conviction are now being offered.

The New Forest Commoners' Defence Association hope garage employees "feel just as badly as we do about hit and run accidents to our livestock".

Seven animals were injured in the three weeks between 7 September and 1 October, compared to just two during the whole of August.

'Absolute agony'

Rewards of up to £1,000 are being offered by the Verderers of the New Forest, New Forest Commoners Defence Association and the New Forest Pony Breeding and Cattle Society.

Jonathan Gerrelli, the New Forest's head agister, said: "Even animals with perhaps a broken leg will travel quite a considerable distance and of course, if it's not been reported, that animal may be there for several days in absolute agony."

Dr Graham Ferris of the New Forest Commoners' Defence Association, said: "We hope people those who work in garages and workshops will feel just as badly as we do about hit and run accidents to our livestock and that they will be willing to report the accident."

The New Forest is an open heath and woodland covering some 37,500 hectares (92,625 acres) between Southampton and Bournemouth.

The forest's character and ecology is largely maintained by the grazing of livestock owned by smallholders and farmers, known locally as commoners.

There are about 500 practicing commoners in the New Forest, exercising their Forest Rights and paying marking fees on about 7,000 animals each year.

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