Harrowing images of abandoned and maltreated horses -- the latest victim of the recession -- will be shown in a new TV series.
TV3's Animal A & E followed the ISPCA to the site in Kildare of a major rescue operation for ten distressed horses.
Andrea Hayes, one of the show's presenters, told the Herald: "On the programme, we rescued three animals after someone had called in to say that they were very worried about horses left in a field. The ISPCA then went back later and rescued seven more.
"When we got there, there were a number of horses in distress, particularly a horse and foal. There were bones in the field as well which would suggest that horses had died."
The horrific state of the horses shocked the ISPCA workers, who are increasingly left to deal with the problem in Ireland, as owners cannot afford to pay around €100 per week to care for their horses.
"They were so in need of help because it would appear that someone had burned the bones before," Andrea added.
"It's surprising the amount of calls they're getting in particularly for equestrian rescues. The owners can't afford to feed them in the recession which is very, very sad." The programme, which will be aired at 7.30pm this evening also follows the emotional journey of little Lucy, the bichon frise puppy, who Herald readers tried to save by donating cash for life-saving operation.
Sadly, Lucy died on the operating table, but the surgery which was performed in the UCD veterinary hospital, was the only option for the nine month-old pup. Michael Hayes, another presenter, told the Herald: "She was in danger of getting septicemia, and she had to have an operation to cut off the shunt in her body.
"There was disappointment when the operation was too much for her.
"You could sense that the vets were disappointed, even though they have to remain professional and you can't invest yourself too much emotionally."