Sunday 24 September 2017

Farmer sues local council after four of his horses are destroyed

Tim Healy

A FARMER is suing a local council after four horses he owned were stolen or wrongly freed from his land – and later ended up impounded and destroyed.

Gerard Burke said the four horses, a showjumper and three prized Connemara ponies, were wrongly put down by agents of South Dublin County Council after he failed to pay impounding fees.

He said the horses were stolen or freed by unknown people from the land they were on in Stocking Lane, Rathfarnham, in June 2011.

In July that year, Mr Burke, of Pineview Road, Tallaght, Dublin, got High Court permission to bring judicial review proceedings seeking the return of the animals.

Yesterday, when the case opened, Michael O'Higgins SC, for Mr Burke, said it had since been confirmed the horses had been destroyed earlier that July.

Mr O'Higgins said his client would also now be seeking damages against the council.

Two of the Connemara ponies had won awards while the showjumper, a mare, was in foal and the value of those two animals alone was €24,000, Mr O'Higgins said.

The court heard that the animals were picked up by an agency employed by the council after they got out of the land. After making inquiries, Mr Burke was told they were in a pound and he would have to pay €3,300 for the rounding up and impounding fees.

Mr Burke argued that as the horses got out as a result of a criminal act, he should not have to pay the fees. The council said that it was entitled to dispose of the animals.

The hearing continues.

Irish Independent

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