The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

January 18, 2013

Horses in road a deadly hazard

Star Beacon

— Two horses have died in traffic accidents within a month, prompting local law enforcement and animal welfare agencies to send out a warning — keep your ponies corralled.

A female motorist was driving on Route 7 in Monroe Township at 4:30 a.m. Thursday when she hit and killed a horse that was standing in the middle of the road. The car struck the equine and veered into a nearby house.

“This is very sad — very, very sad,” Ashtabula County Dog Warden Donna Yan said. “It is sad and it is dangerous for not only the animals who suffer when they are hit, but also for the people who are driving.”

Friday’s early morning crash is the second horse related road incident in Pierpont Township area in less than a month, as a 21-year-old pregnant woman was injured when she struck a loose horse with her car on Dec. 23, Ohio State Highway Patrol reports show.

The horse was killed on impact.

OHP reports that loose domestic animals — everything from dogs, cats, horses, cows and chickens, were the cause of 19 crashes in 2012. In all cases, OHP Lt. Jerad Sutton said, the animals were killed.

Sutton said troopers have caught loose farm animals on several occasions. He also notes that while animals in the road make up a small percentage of crashes, they can be deadly.

“In 2011, two people were killed as the result of a horse that got loose in the roadway,” he said. “While we give animal owners the benefit of the doubt, we take it very seriously when someone has recurring problems with keeping their animals off the roadways.”

Yan said that for every accident or animal killed on the road, there are dozens no one hears about.