independent

Tuesday 16 September 2014

'Hero' the foal has found a new home

Myles Buchanan

Published 01/01/2014 | 05:44

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Deputy Andrew Doyle has welcomed the news that 'Hero' the foal has found a new home but wonders why his abusers appear to have gotten off scott free.

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Deputy Andrew Doyle has welcomed the news that 'Hero' the foal has found a new home but wonders why his abusers appear to have gotten off scott free.

Hero's mother had to be put down prior to Christmas after a group of men beat her in an attempt to get her to enter a green area at Ballyguile in Wicklow town. When the mare wouldn't exit a horse box, one of the men accelerated the vehicle the open trailer was attached to, causing the horse to fall out out onto the concrete and break two of her legs.

The men continued to beat the animal before fleeing the scene. The mare had to be euthanized and Hero remained by his dead mother's side for the duration of the night until her body was removed in the morning.

The foal was taken into care by the Irish Horse Welfare Trust and will be fostered to a new owner.

Deputy Doyle says, 'this has been a very distressing case of human cruelty to a horse in Wicklow town, in a country that has such a long and close relationship with horses. The charitable work of the Irish Horse Welfare Trust saves many horses from an untimely death and they are to be applauded and supported for looking after these animals. But people are angry that cruelty to horses happens and they are not sure what to do or who is doing what to stop people abusing horses.'

Deputy Doyle applauds Wicklow County Council, the Department of Agriculture and the Gardai for their involvement in impounding 63 stray horses from around Ballyguile earlier in December. So far the county council has impounded 340 horses, compared to only 82 in 2012.

He further feels that the new Animal Health and Welfare Act should be implemented in full in order to punish anyone guilty of causing cruelty to horses.

'The laws as applied at present make it very difficult for the authorities to prosecute those responsible for this type of act of cruelty to a horse. However, the new Animal Health and Welfare Act sets out legal standards for the welfare of horses that are kept by anyone for any purpose and they need to be implemented to prevent these incidents of horse cruelty. Up to now, all farm animals had to be tagged except horses and dogs, but under the new Animal Health and Welfare Act, an identification system is needed for each animal, including horses and dogs. There is still no national scheme for tagging horses to identify the owner.'

He adds, 'an Irish horse microchip programme requires a cooperative effort between the Departments of Agriculture, and Environment with all the agencies involved with horse and dog welfare, to roll out a low-cost system of tagging and public education, in order to fulfil the requirements of the Animal Health and Welfare Act and the Dog Breeding Act. This would be another important step in the prevention of animal cruelty and the protection of horses and dogs in Ireland by ensuring that the horse owner was responsible for its welfare.'

Wicklow People

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