The ISPCA said it has not received any information from the public relating to the death of a horse on a residential street in Cork on Tuesday.
A garda investigation is underway after eyewitnesses reported seeing the horse pulling a sulky cart before it collapsed in the Hawthorn Mews estate in the Dublin Hill area.
Witnesses say those in control of the horse detached the cart and left the scene, leaving the horse to die in the street.
Despite a public appeal for information, Cork’s ISPCA inspector Lisa O’Donovan said the association is yet to receive any tip-offs from the public as to the identity of the horse’s owner.
“We have been appealing through the papers and radio for information, but we have received nothing yet,” said Ms O’Donovan.
She said that, this incident aside, there were already existing concerns for the welfare of horses that are used for street sulky racing in and around the city.
“This is not the first time such an incident has been reported, but often by the time we get there the riders and horse are gone, vanished into thin air,” she said.
Cork North Central Fianna Fáil TD Billy Kelleher said a balance needs to be struck between allowing the sulky racing tradition to continue and ensuring that best practice in terms of animal welfare is followed.
“For my own part, I think a new licensing system is needed for anyone who wants to own horses for the purpose of sulky racing.
“No horse should be without a registered and licensed owner. Every horse should be chipped, and a lead-in time to allow horse owners meet their obligations.
“There is no reason on earth why a horse, or any animal for that matter, should die from exhaustion in this day and age.
“The owners of this horse should hang their heads in shame for what they have done.
“It makes me sick to the pit of my stomach, and I would urge the City Council to do whatever is necessary to ensure it never happens again,” said Mr Kelleher.
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