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Dublin councils have seized 118 horses on public lands this year

Last year in South Dublin alone, 467 horses were seized and 422 euthanised. Just 12 were rehomed and 22 were retrained.

ALREADY THIS YEAR, three Dublin local authorities have seized 118 horses on public lands.

The three – Dublin City Council, South Dublin County Council and Fingal County Council – have had 105 horses euthanised since 1 January.

This year, they will spend hundreds of thousands of euro rounding up unlicensed horses and sending them to pounds to be euthanised.

Last year in South Dublin, 467 horses were seized and 422 euthanised. Just 12 were rehomed and 22 were retrained.

The council’s budget for this was €438,000, not including any funds from the Department of Agriculture.

In some of the suburbs in the capital, it is a common sight to see young horses grazing on undeveloped grass lands, which are often rounded up only to be replaced within days.

Tiffany Quinn of My Lovely Horse Rescue says that while the councils are doing good work, their fight is misguided.

“The two main causes of the crisis are lack of education or ignorance from people in urban areas and unlimited supply of horses.

“There are people who shouldn’t have horses, as they have nowhere to keep them, who have horses.”

The charity is aiming to get funding to run education workshops with children in the areas worst affected by the problem. They recently met with Dublin City Council who Tiffany says were “really supportive”. She says that stopping supply of horses and educating the young people who ride horses makes more sense.

“It costs over €900 to round up and shoot a horse, it costs around €100 to geld them.

“There’s no value being placed on the horses. Kids can buy them for 20, 30 or 40 quid, they start using them when they’re 6 months old, well before they’re able. They’re jockeying them and putting them in sulkeys and when they get sick, they dump them.

“There’s no empathy and no feeling towards the animals. These are herd animals that should not be on their own like that.”

In two years, the charity has helped 147 horses by retraining or rehousing them. Tiffany says that if councils can offer facilities, they shouldn’t come for free.

“We go into these areas and get the kids to surrender the horse to us, we train them and rehome them.

“These are symptoms of a deeper social problem that we have. Some people think they should be allowed keep the horses even though they can’t take care of them.

“There should be an exchange – where if you’re getting a facility to mind your horse, you work there. A lot of kids would thrive in that situation and want to learn.

“The councils need to be tackling the causes, not just the problem.”

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