ANIMAL charities are at "breaking point" with a sharp rise in the number of dogs, cats and horses passing through their doors.
Huge increases in equine welfare complaints and seizures have resulted in the ISPCA being unable to care for any more distressed horses.
The charitable organisation told the Irish Independent that its facilities were filled well beyond capacity.
There has been a 160pc increase in the number of horses taken into care so far in 2013 compared with the same period last year.
The ISPCA has also seen a 57pc increase in dogs and a 156pc increase in cats seized or surrendered.
In the first seven months of this year the ISPCA has received almost as many equine related cruelty allegations as it did in all of 2012.
The ISPCA has called on the Department of Agriculture to enforce equine identification and registration of premises regulations.
It is also calling on local authorities around the country to take responsibility where ownership of equines in urban areas is unclear.
Typical of the charity's problems is Nina, a young trotter found unable to walk in Laois after being abandoned with multiple wounds and lacerations to her legs, in-grown head collar marks as well as serious bite wounds.
"We predict a large number of equines will suffer this winter, many dumped and left to starve and sadly we won't be able to help them all," said ISPCA chairperson Barbara Bent.
The recession is being touted by the charity as being one of the main reasons for animal abandonment cases.
Monaghan ISPCA is currently looking after two pups which were dumped in a ditch.
"Our volunteer thought she could see a little head pop up over the top of the ditch and went back to check. She found two, but in all likelihood there was probably more abandoned," said Sinead McKenna, volunteer and treasurer with Monaghan ISPCA.
Robert Kenny, director of Leinster Animal Rescue, said the dumping of unwanted animals was "non-stop", and added that "some dogs have even been left on train lines".
"We are an appalling country when it comes to cruelty and I think we are one of the worst in Western Europe," he said.