Corolla, N.C. (WTKR) – Despite all the outreach and education, it seems some people still aren’t getting the message not to do dangerous things around the wild horses in Corolla.
The Corolla Wild Horse Fund is warning visitors NOT to approach, touch or try to feed the wild horses on the beaches.
On Sunday, a visitor to the Outer Banks snapped photos of a family with children climbing sand dunes and getting dangerously close to the horses.
The Corolla Wild Horse Fund posted the pictures to their Facebook page on Wednesday.
In one photo, two children can be seen less than a foot away from a wild horse while trying to feed it. In another, a man can be seen taking photos of the kids interacting with the horses within a dangerous proximity.
“I think it’s because our horses don’t run when they see people, people assume that they are not wild and that’s a very dangerous misconception,” Corolla Wild Horse Fund Executive Director Karen McCalpin told NewsChannel 3’s Todd Corillo.
Currituck County adopted a civil ordinance in 1989 that makes it unlawful for any person to lure, attract or entice a wild horse to come within 50 feet of any person” and “any person to lure or entice a wild horse out of a wild horse sanctuary, or to seize and remove a wild horse from a wild horse sanctuary.” (Ord. of 12-18-89, pt. I, § 2; Ord. of 10-4-93, § 1)
Additional ordinances prohibit the feeding, riding, petting or approaching an animal with the intent to feed. (Ord. of 10-4-93, § 3)
Violating the ordinances is a civil offense that carries a fine.
“Some of the comments on our Facebook page surprised me – ‘why are you making such a big deal about it, they were just making a family memory.’ Well, they could have made a family memory of their child having a vicious bite or being kicked or injured and that’s certainly not a memory we want people to leave with,” McCalpin explained.
She says it’s important to remember that the wild horses are tolerant – but they are not tame and getting too close can be dangerous.
“We want people to enjoy these horses but they need to do it from a respectful, a safe and a legal distance,” McCalpin said.
If you spot someone getting too close to the wild horses, you’re encouraged to Take Action and call the Currituck County Dispatch at 252-232-2216.