Longford County Council has seized 100 stray and abandoned horses
New figures show that Longford County Council has seized 100 stray and abandoned horses over the past five years.
However, there has been a dramatic decline in the number of horses seized and or impounded for trespass and for non-compliance with chipping law and regulation from 2015 and to date in 2019.
Under the Control of Horses Act 1996, which provides the necessary powers to Local Authorities to deal with stray and abandoned horses, Longford County Council seized 41 horses in 2015, compared with 6 up to the end of quarter three this year.
Nationally, 2,679 horses were seized in 2015, with 769 being seized nationally up until the end of Q3.
Horses seized 2015 to 2019
Longford County Council
2019: 6 (up to end of Q3)
2019: 769 (up to end of Q3)
Responding to a Dáil question from Tipperary Deputy Jackie Cahill, the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed explained that the Control of Horses Act 1996 contains provisions for the licencing and identification of horses and was introduced to address the issues caused by stray and wandering horses due to public safety concerns.
Minister Creed added, "The primary purpose of the Act was to address the dangerous and unacceptable situation of horses being kept in unsuitable conditions which in many cases resulted in horses wandering onto public roads and public lands posing very serious risks to the public especially motorists and young children. The Act provides for the designation, by local authority bye laws, of control areas in which horses cannot be kept without a licence. Enforcement the Act is a matter for each Local Authority.
"The number of horses being seized nationally continues to decline. This reduction is reflective of a number of factors including initiatives being progressed by my Department in the animal welfare area as well as active enforcement of the Animal Health and Welfare Act 2013 and the EU Equine Identification Regulations. In tandem with the work of the Local Authorities under the Control of Horses Act, officials of my Department have been directly involved in a number of horse seizures and have initiated prosecutions under the Animal Health and Welfare Act."