AN inspector with the ISPCA has slammed horse owners who abandon their animals, saying it was "not good enough" to blame their irresponsible actions on the recession.
Lisa O'Donovan was speaking after she revealed that the ISPCA has had to save three abandoned foals from almost certain death over the past month in the Mallow area alone.
In one particular instance, Lisa responded to a call to a green area in Mallow town where she found an almost lifeless, emaciated young foal lying on the grown.
"She was very weak and unable to get up. I did get her to stand but she collapsed again straight away," said Lisa.
"Enquiries made locally suggested that her mother had died three to four weeks earlier but, as is so common with these cases, no one was claiming responsibility for her"," said Lisa.
The foal, christened Tess, was taken to an ISPCA centre for treatment and is still recovering.
However, Lisa fears that a combination of factors could see this kind of incident being repeated across North Cork over the coming months.
"This was the third horse we found abandoned in the Mallow area in as many weeks, all of whom are lucky to be alive. Normally we might deal with this kind of incident in the Mallow area twice in a year," said Lisa.
"We hear a lot of people saying that they simply cannot afford to feed and care for these horses, but I believe that for many people this is just a convenient excuse because they have no intrinsic value in these animals," she added.
Lisa said that a combination of the bad summer and the threat of harsh winter months could bring a huge increase in the number of animals abandoned and left to die in appalling circumstances.
"I accept many people are finding it hard to cover the cost of keeping horses, but to let animals die like this simply just not good enough," said the inspector.
"I also do not understand how people could see a young animal like Tess suffering in a green area and not contact us. What we have already witnessed is a sad indication of what lies ahead of us over the winter period."
Lisa said despite it being a legal requirement for equines to be identifiable, Tess and other abandoned horses are rarely microchipped, making it impossible to trace their owners.