Farm Ireland

Thursday 23 November 2017

Vast majority of 2,000 horses seized by authorities last year were put down

'We had a case of a pony being swapped for a mobile phone'

Photo: ISPCA
Photo: ISPCA
Ciaran Moran

Ciaran Moran

Some 1,741 horses were euthanised by local Co. Councils in 2016, according to recent figures published by the Department of Agriculture.

The figures show that some 2,125 horses were seized by Co. Councils over the course of 2016 with 227 re-homed and 101 reclaimed by owners.

Dublin councils recorded the highest levels of seizures with South Dublin County Council, Fingal, Dun Laoghaire/Rathdown and Dublin City Council seizing 649 between them and it put down 598 horses in 2016.

Limerick, Tipperary and Kildare also saw high levels of horse seizures in 2016, each recording over 120 seizures each last year.

Commenting on the figures a spokesperson for the Dublin Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (DSPCA) said the charity is concerned about the large number of reports they are still receiving from the public about stray/abandoned horses in Dublin and Ireland. 

It called on horse owners to comply with the legislation surrounding the ownership and grazing of horses.

Earlier this year Martina Kenny, co-founder of the charity, My Lovely Horse Rescue highlighted the issue and said the solution involved educating people.

“In so many rescue cases involving horses, the Gardaí don’t actually know what they can or cannot do,” Martina added.

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In her presentation to TDs earlier this year Ms Kenny made a number of proposals, several of which she says might go some way towards alleviating the heavy burden on rescue centres, including My Lovely Horse, which caters for anything up to 100 horses and ponies on an ongoing basis.

“Many of the legislations such as compulsory passports and microchipping are already in place but we really need to make sure that they are adhered to.

"We need to generate awareness amongst the Gardaí and communities of the laws, even if it means talking to those in training in Templemore even before they graduate. Indiscriminate breeding is also a major problem in many areas. We know that when horses are impounded, the owners can get replacements straight away from unscrupulous breeders.”

Ms Kenny proposed that Gardaí be equipped with scanners so that they can check microchips randomly.

“I also highlighted the fact that much of the anti-social behaviour that involves horse cruelty actually takes place at the weekends, when many of the officers have clocked off work. If some of our volunteers were given authorisation, we could continue to do our work seven days a week.

“Rules are being broken on a daily basis. Just recently we had a case of a pony being swapped for a mobile phone. The pony was in a bad way and needed immediate attention of the vet. One eye was so badly damaged it had to be removed and the pony is now blind in the remaining eye.”

Ms Kenny said that Clondalkin continues to be an area of concern.

“There is a place known as the ‘death field’ is a regular dumping ground and we often find carcasses scattered there.” Gino Kenny has recently succeeded in creating the Clondalkin Equine Club which is expected to be up and running by the spring.

“We are delighted that this is nearly off the ground,” Mr Kenny said.

“The project is being funded by the Department of Agriculture and the Dublin City Council and will have stabling for 20 horses on three acres. There will also be an education centre for young horse owners in the area,” he added.

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