Revealed: The 'staggering' number of horses put down in Dublin last year
A "staggering" 600 neglected horses were put to sleep in Dublin last year - up 20pc on the previous year.
The figures, released to the Herald by the four local authorities in Dublin, reveal that out of the 646 horses seized only 46 were reclaimed or rehomed.
South County Dublin had the highest number of horses euthanised (256) while Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown had 26.
In the areas located within Dublin City Council 172 were put down, along with 146 in Fingal.
This overall number is up 20.6pc compared to 2015 when 476 horses were euthanised in Dublin. In the same year just 48 were saved.
People-Before-Profit TD Gino Kenny told the Herald that the number of horses euthanised this year was "staggering".
The Clondalkin TD, who is a long-time horse enthusiast, said: "There clearly needs to be stricter measures enforced to those who mistreat and neglect their horses. Clearly the South Dublin County Council's horse by-laws are not being enforced.
"Educating these young people how to take care of horses along with having the law enforced will definitely alleviate this problem," he said.
Tom Aspil, former chairperson of Clondalkin Equine Club told the Herald that a new state-of-the-art equestrian centre will be opened next month in Ballyowen, which he hopes will help slash the number of horses being seized and euthanised in South County Dublin.
"There will be 20 stables for these kids who are all under the age of 16. They are being trained by experts on how to properly take care and train their horse.
"It is our hope that these youths will pass on their knowledge to their peers," he said.
"During the summer the amount of robbed cars, vandalism and anti-social behaviour drops drastically in the Clondalkin area due to young people being occupied with their horses.
However, as the weather gets colder a lot of these horses are abandoned.
"Thankfully, the number of young people owning horses has decreased due to the closure of Smithfield horse market.
"Before then any child could buy a horse for as little as €20. Now it's very difficult for them to buy," he added.