€1m bill to put 1,000 horses down in Dublin last year
The number of stray horses destroyed in Dublin last year jumped by almost 40pc, with the taxpayer forking out close to €1m.
Almost 1,000 horses were put down in all four Dublin authorities costing approximately €878,000.
In total 1,022 horses were seized, with 925 of these being euthanised - an increase of 38pc from 2013.
Last year Dublin City Council (DCC) spent €231,000 seizing 328 horses, with approximately 60pc of this sum eligible to be recouped from the Department of Agriculture.
The number of horses seized by DCC was up 25pc last year from the 255 animals that were removed in 2012.
The authority with the highest number of horses seized was South Dublin County Council (SDCC), which had a total of 469 animals removed from various estates.
A total of 90pc of the horses seized were euthanised, with just 22 being reclaimed and a further 12 re-homed. A further 13 remained in the council's pound at the end of 2014.
The SDCC allocates a total of €447,000 to the removal, rehousing and euthanising of horses, more than all of the other authorities combined.
There was also an increase in Fingal County Council figures, where a total of 206 were seized by the authority, with 189 of these being humanely put down. Only one horse was reclaimed by its owner.
In the Dun Laoghaire/Rathown Council area, all 19 horses that were seized in 2014 were put down.
However, this was a drop from the previous year's figure of 49.
All four authorities use Cantor Equine Ltd for the service, with the contract valued at around €356,000 annually.
Horses are required to be micro-chipped and have a passport, and owners who wish to reclaim their animal must do so within five days of them being seized.
If owners do not come forward or comply with legislation, which requires the horse to be returned to an equine registered property with a passport, the animal is euthanised.
The keeping of horses in public parks and estates was highlighted in January last year when a horse strayed onto the dual carriageway near Clondalkin and was hit by a seven-seater vehicle.
No one was injured but the vehicle was written off and the injured horse had to be euthanised at the scene.