€137,000 is set aside for controlling stray horses
Increased demand has obliged Wexford County Council to jack up its budget for stray and abandoned horse control by 60 per cent. The local authority over-spent under the relevant heading to the tune of more than €18,000 in 2013. Now councillors have voted a substantial rise in the allocation, up to €137,000. Officials reckon that recession is a major factor in the increased number of horse being impounded.
Director of services Eddie Taaffe estimated that the number of horses impounded rose from 70 in 2012 to 120 last year. While many of these animals were later reclaimed by owners, one in five is now put down or 'euthanased' as he called it rather than allowing them to continue racking up the cost of keeping them in the pound.
'Things are getting out of hand,' commented Enniscorthy councillor Paddy Kavanagh. The FG representative said he was waiting a week for two stray horses to be collected in his area. He suggested that it would be both practical and cost effective to allow land owners to bring strays to the pound rather than have them wait for the council to take action.
The director confirmed that impounded horses are microchipped, prompting Cllr. Kavanagh to joke: 'Maybe we should be chipping the owners, and not the horses.'