Dumped horses spark safety fears

Animal welfare campaigners have warned of a growing problem of horses being abandoned on public and private property and left to fend for themselves.

The comments from the ISPCA (Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) came as horses were removed from a site near Doneraile in north Co Cork owned by Cork County Council. The body of one dead horse was taken away and the remains of another are due to be removed today. It is understood one of the dead horses had lain in water on the site for a number of weeks.

The local authority-owned site at Ballydineen also had a scattering of bones belonging to other horses that have died there in recent times. Last week a spokesman for Cork County Council said the local authority was aware of one dead horse on site, but not the scattering of bones and skulls of dead horses, and these have since been removed.

It is understood an inspector visited the site just outside Doneraile, and afterwards some live horses were removed.

The spokesman for Cork County Council said: “The dead animal was in a very difficult location and CCC had to create an opening to get machinery into the site.

“The site is remote from any main water channel, the horse carcass was located in an open drain. It is not clear from the maps which way this open drain will run, it could run north towards the Awbeg, or south towards the Carrig Stream. In any event drainage from this location will eventually reach the Blackwater. There is no public drinking water abstraction from the Awbeg or the Blackwater river downstream of this location.”

It then emerged the first dead horse removed was one of two carcasses on the site.

The local authority spokesman said the location had been inspected and a JCB was due at the site today. The council spokesman said no permission was given to anyone to graze animals on the 70-acre site.

The chairperson of the ISPCA, Barbara Bent, said there was a “growing problem” of animals being abandoned and left to fend for themselves. The ISPCA equine office in Mallow, where she is based, can receive “three or four” calls a month regarding horses left on private property.

“We have huge concerns regarding horses being put in other people’s land — council or private land — by irresponsible people who no longer want them.”

Ms Bent said the breeding of “low quality” animals meant owners valued them less than the cost of a vet visit, sometimes animals can be abandoned in woodland or areas with little water, making survival difficult.

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