Over 350 horses, ponies and foals put down last year
Published 10/01/2016 | 02:30
Almost 550 neglected, stray and unchipped horses were seized by Dublin's local authorities last year, the Sunday Independent has learned.
More than 350 horses and ponies, including foals, were destroyed.
Separately, two more young ponies have died in flooded fields in Co Waterford. Also recently, another pony called Champ died after being trapped on waterlogged land.
Under the Control of Horses Act 1996, a horse may be seized and impounded if it is a stray, causing a nuisance, posing a danger, being kept in a controlled area without a horse licence, or if the animal is not identifiable.
Last year, South Dublin County Council seized 231 horses - 207 were put down after failing to be reclaimed or rehomed within five days.
Dublin City Council impounded 145 horses - 119 were destroyed.
Martina Kenny, co-founder of My Lovely Horse Rescue, said the capital's horse problem was still at "crisis levels" and claimed the Government was "failing to enforce" recent legislation which requires horses identified after July 2009 to be issued with a passport and to have a corresponding microchip implanted.
"The figures are still massive and that's not even counting the animals that were surrendered, died in fields or the ones that are never found. The Government has to do something," she added.
My Lovely Horse Rescue, also co-founded by Irish singer-songwriter Cathy Davey and patroned by The Divine Comedy's Neil Hannon, is currently "completely jammed" with unwanted, starved equines from inner-city Dublin and the suburbs.
Rescuers say many horses are "half dead" when found. The group has come across cases where owners are feeding their horses bread and bird feed. Some horses have even been electrocuted.
"They are never chipped, they don't want to claim them so there is no value on their lives. You can buy horses online for €10 nowadays - we're at crisis point and the Government is still ignoring the issue," added Ms Kenny.