Wild Horse Interaction Discouraged by Ordinance Amendment

Intentionally approaching a wild horse in Currituck County, N.C., could get visitors in some serious trouble. On July 6, the Currituck County Board of Commissioners made it illegal to intentionally come anywhere within 50 feet of a wild horse.

The Wild Horse Ordinance, originally enacted in 1989, previously declared it only unlawful to lure a horse within 50 feet if the offender was trying to feed the animal. The ordinance was modified to include “It shall further be unlawful for any person to lure, attract, or entice a wild horse to come within 50 feet of any person.”

The change was recommended by the Corolla Wild Horse Fund Inc., a 501(c)(3), formed to heighten awareness about the presence of wild horses in the area.

“These horses see thousands of people on the beach every day, but they are wild,” said Karen McCalpin, executive director of the Corolla Wild Horse Fund. “The Wild Horse Ordinance is there to protect the people and the wild horses.”

Visitors are strongly advised not to feed or approach the wild horses due to their unpredictability. In the past, there have also been incidences of colic in the wild horse herd because of visitors offering carrots and other food the horses are not adapted to.

The wild horses often seen on the Outer Banks of Currituck are thought to be descendents of the Spanish Mustang. The horses roam on 7,544 acres of land, 70% of which is privately owned.

The new amendment does not apply to animal control officers, law enforcement officers, wild horse sanctuary officers or veterinarians rendering treatment to a wild horse.

According to McCalpin, visitors will be educated about the wild horses and the ordinance via brochures distributed by sanctuary patrol officers and information provided by local real estate companies.

For more information on the wild horse ordinance, visit the Corolla Wild Horse Fund’s Web site.

About the Author

Jennifer Whittle, TheHorse.com Web Producer

Jennifer Whittle, TheHorse.com Web Producer, is a lifelong horse owner who competes with her Appaloosas in Western performance events. She is a University of Kentucky graduate and holds a bachelor’s degree in Community Communications and Leadership Development, and master's degree in Career, Technical, and Leadership Education. She currently lives on a small farm in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky.

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