New Forest rules: You can be fined for petting animals

FEEDING or petting donkeys in the New Forest could see you fined or prosecuted as new public space orders are brought into force.

Two new Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs) prevent the use of barbecues and fires in the Forest, as well as the feeding and petting of ponies or donkeys.

This comes after animal deaths were reported from being fed human food, as well as repeated fire damage to the Forest caused by campfires and barbecues.

Those failing to comply with the bans could be liable to a fixed penalty fine or prosecution.

As well as banning the lighting of any type of fire, the PSPO makes it an offence to place, throw or drop items likely to cause a fire.

Teams from Forestry England, the New Forest National Park Authority and the Verderers of the New Forest will be patrolling and engaging with the public to explain more about the new rules.

Incidents of people being injured by animals was also cited as a reason for introducing the measures.

One such incident was recorded at Appleslade car park near Linwood where an NPA ranger reported witnessing a young girl being kicked by ponies. The girl’s family had reportedly fed the ponies before this.

The report said: “[The ranger] went over to see if she could help and to check if the girl was okay. The parent was offensive and they left.”

The new orders apply from July 1 and can be enforced by issuing fixed penalty notices of £100, which can rise to £1,000 following a successful prosecution.