A MALLOW farmer has called for tough action to be taken against horse-owners who, he claimed, are deliberately allowing their animals to graze on his land.
Pat Sexton contacted The Corkman after the newspaper recently ran an article that revealed how horses left to graze on Mallow Rugby Club's juvenile pitch at Carrokeel had rendered the surface unplayable. Mr Sexton, who owns a farm adjacent to the rugby pitch, said the club is not alone in being plagued by the horses.
"Either they break down fences or posts are deliberately lifted out of the ground. I and at least two other local farmers have had horses deliberately put on our land during the night," said Mr Sexton.
"Recently, I went out to find two horses on my land. Other times there have been more," he added.
Another problem he and other farmers face is that they could be liable for any damages the horses may cause when they are put off their land.
"So do we leave them there? Of course not. If you do, the problem just gets worse. That is exactly what happened with the rugby club."
Mr Sexton said he had what he described as "serious discussion" with the owners of the horses, but to no avail.
"I've had dealings with these people and they say the same old thing - it won't happen again; but of course it does. Not only do I have to repair any damage out of my own pocket, I also have to worry about whether these horses are bringing any infections onto my land," he said.
Mr Sexton said he is just one of many people living in the area who have become increasingly angry and frustrated at the ongoing situation.
"I've spoken to gardai, but to be fair to them there is only so much they can do. They have requested the horses be moved and have even impounded some in the past. But the problem just resurfaces the following week," he said.
Mr Sexton said that, as a farmer, he has to adhere to strict guidelines governing the management of livestock and believes the same should apply to the owners of horses.
"I believe that local authorities have to be more proactive in addressing this serious issue, either by enforcing existing bye-laws governing the welfare and care of horses or, if they are not effective enough, introducing news ones," he said.
"I am voicing the concerns and frustrations of an entire community when I say this cannot be allowed to continue."