DUBLIN councils have spent more than €500k impounding and slaughtering horses this year.
A total of 770 horses were put down after being seized by the four local authorities since January.
In the Dublin region alone, 840 horses were impounded from the start of January, almost matching the number seized in all of 2013.
It has cost the local authorities more than €546,000 to date - Fingal County Council was the only council unable to provide the exact amount already spent this year.
Last year, 842 horses were seized across the county and city at a cost of €774,000.
South Dublin County Council has the highest rate of horse seizures in Dublin and spent the most on the programme.
It has cost the county €351,000 to date this year.
Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council has seen a sharp decline in the number of horses seized in the county - only 14 have been impounded this year, and all of them were destroyed.
In Dublin city, 262 horses were seized, most from green areas within estates, while in Fingal the council removed 194 horses. Slaughter rates across Dublin are now over 90pc.
Only 28 horses were released to their owners for a fee, which varies from area to area.
In South Dublin, four animals are currently being processed. Dublin City Council charges upwards of €700 to reclaim an impounded horse, which includes a microchip insertion and a horse licence.
Where possible, horses are re-homed through animal charities.
Thirty-eight have been found new homes this year.
The problem of stray or abandoned horses has increased across the country since the economic downturn.
The latest figures come as the DSPCA announced a new Snip and Chip gelding programme.
The control of horses bye-laws allow councils to remove horses that have been abandoned, unlicensed or are housed in unsuitable conditions.
Owners have five days to reclaim them before they are rehoused or put down.