Friday 9 December 2016

'We’re struggling to build houses and yet we can spend €600,000 seizing horses' - Call for action as hundreds of stray horses seized by council

Published 30/08/2016 | 18:45

(Stock photo)
(Stock photo)

A city councillor is calling for immediate action to be taken to control horses in his local area.

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“It’s costing Limerick County Council almost €600,000 a year to deal with horses. It costs €1100 to seize a horse. We’re struggling to fill pot holes, build houses and yet we can spend €600,000 seizing horses,” Seighin O’Ceallaigh told Independent.ie.

“Imagine seeing a horse being ridden down O’Connell Street in Dublin or Patrick’s Street in Cork? It’s unthinkable.”

It follows the release of a statement from Limerick County Council which says 343 stray horses were seized last year – with 15 of them being put down due to ill-health.

So far this year, 133 horses have been impounded. Eleven of them were euthanised on welfare and health grounds.

“I see horses with their ribs sticking out. It’s not a pet meant for children. They belong on farms in the country, not in an estate in Limerick city. The horses are being seized but then the same owners just go and buy a new horse for less than €100 and treat them the exact same way,” Mr O’Ceallaigh said.

In one incident last year, horses were seized in a city centre estate and a group of “young thugs” responded by rioting and setting the local church on fire.

“Something has to be put in place in this city. We went for European Capital of Culture this year, we’re becoming more modern – there is no place for horses running around wild,” the Sinn Fein councillor said.

Limerick County Council are currently working with the gardai and a number of other agencies to develop a programme for young people. The programme looks to train and educate young people about how to treat horses and look after them.

The Council are looking to introduce something along the same lines as the Fettercairn youth project on Dublin’s south side. Fettercairn run public and private horse riding lessons and pony camps for all ages.

Limerick Animal Welfare (LAW) have welcomed the fresh plans for a horse project in Limerick city.

Its founder Marian Fitzgibbon says they are frequently dealing with incidents involving horses who have been mistreated.

On the August Bank Holiday, they had to treat a wild horse that got caught in barbed wire and had to be put down, just after she gave birth to two foals.

“We need to do something, and we’re trying to. It is hoped a new secure area for horses will be built within five years,” she told Independent.ie.

Last week, the Council sent letters to some residents in Ballinacurra Weston warning them their horses would be seized if they were not removed, sparking a number of days of anti-social behaviour.

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