The fate of abandoned horses is not attractive and last year Cork County Council destroyed 158 animals left to fend for themselves, a more than 10% increase from the 136 unwanted wretches destroyed in 2013.
Economic circumstances, and new costs introduced to the animal rescue process, are blamed for the trend but wanton neglect also plays a part in this sorry, unacceptable story.
Just about this time every year another sorry animal story moves towards something approaching an avoidable tragedy.
Animals given as Christmas presents — puppies and kittens that seemed so adorable just weeks ago — are, in some instances, turning into demanding, smelly, expensive additions to stretched households.
Some may have been rejected by those they were given to and a crossroads of sorts looms.
Those tempted to resolve this dilemma by dumping young animals on the margins of our towns or cities should be strongly discouraged from doing so.
Such cruelty is unnecessary as there are many organisations and services that will help resolve this difficulty in a decent way.
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