Farm Ireland

Monday 5 December 2016

'One pony was swapped for a phone'

Published 03/12/2016 | 06:30

Martina Kenny, co-founder of the charity, My Lovely Horse Rescue.
Martina Kenny, co-founder of the charity, My Lovely Horse Rescue.

"It's all about educating people, especially the gardaí," says Martina Kenny, co-founder of the charity, My Lovely Horse Rescue.

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“In so many rescue cases involving horses, the gardaí don’t actually know what they can or cannot do,” Martina (right) added. In a bid to highlight this, and many other horse welfare issues, Ms Kenny recently made a presentation to a number of TDs, including Mary Butler (Fianna Fáil) and Mattie McGrath (Independent).

The presentation was organised by People Before Profit TD, Gino Kenny.

“Gino has been campaigning about this for years, and has been very supportive, but it was an opportunity for some of the other TDs to hear first-hand about the serious problem that still exists, despite legislations being in place. They were all shocked to learn that between 2008 and 2015 approximately 15,200 equines were euthanised at a cost of almost €11.5m to the Irish government,” she said.

In her presentation Ms Kenny made a number of proposals, several of which she says might go some way towards alleviating the heavy burden on rescue centres, including My Lovely Horse, which caters for anything up to 100 horses and ponies on an ongoing basis.

“Many of the legislations such as compulsory passports and microchipping are already in place but we really need to make sure that they are adhered to. We need to generate awareness amongst the gardaí and communities of the laws, even if it means talking to those in training in Templemore even before they graduate. Indiscriminate breeding is also a major problem in many areas. We know that when horses are impounded, the owners can get replacements straight away from unscrupulous breeders.”

Ms Kenny proposed that gardaí be equipped with scanners so that they can check microchips randomly.

“I also highlighted the fact that much of the anti-social behaviour that involves horse cruelty actually takes place at the weekends, when many of the officers have clocked off work. If some of our volunteers were given authorisation, we could continue to do our work seven days a week.

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“Rules are being broken on a daily basis. Just recently we had a case of a pony being swapped for a mobile phone. The pony was in a bad way and needed immediate attention of the vet. One eye was so badly damaged it had to be removed and the pony is now blind in the remaining eye.”

Ms Kenny said that Clondalkin continues to be an area of concern.

“There is a place known as the ‘death field’ where there are up to 50 horses. It is a regular dumping ground and we often find carcasses scattered there.” Gino Kenny has recently succeeded in creating the Clondalkin Equine Club which is expected to be up and running by the spring. “We are delighted that this is nearly off the ground,” Mr Kenny said.

“The project is being funded by the Department of Agriculture and the Dublin City Council and will have stabling for 20 horses on three acres. There will also be an education centre for young horse owners in the area,” he added.

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