Wicklow Sinn Féin Councillor John Brady has stated the issue of stray
horses in the county has reached crisis point and he has asked for the
Department of Agriculture to intervene to tackle the problem. The
councillor made the comments following a response to a number of
questions he had put to Wicklow county council who are responsible for
the control of horses in the county under the Control of Horses Act
Cllr Brady stated "Following a recent incident in Bray in which a
child was kicked by a horse i tabled a number of questions to Wicklow
county council who are responsible for the control of horses under the
Control of Horses Act 1996. The response i received from the council
shows clearly there is a huge problem with stray horses in the county
and this is backed up by concerns of people from right across Wicklow.
Horses are being kept in housing estates and even in gardens, its
estimated in Wicklow Town alone there are up to 200 loose horses."
Brady continued "Wicklow county council have contracted the services
of Cantor Equine Ltd. to seize stay and abandoned horses in the county
and since 2011, 355 horses have been seized and 230 of those have been
disposed of. This is a huge problem that has hit crisis point. There
are numerous issues here not only the issue of public safety as many
of these horses are being kept in urban areas within housing estates.
There is also an animal welfare issue as many of these horses are
simply abandoned and some are being kept in inappropriate, insecure
locations without access to water. The fact that 230 horses have had
to be destroyed since 2011 is alarming."
"Since 2011 Wicklow County Council has spent €282,195.37 trying to
deal with this issue, however it is still as bad if not worse than
ever. I have no problem with people who want to keep horses once they
have the right facilities to do so and they have the appropriate level
of experience to look after the horse properly. I have proposed that
Wicklow County Council look at the idea of using some unused land in
the county, securing it properly and providing veterinary care and
educational facilities along with stables, for people who may want to
keep a horse. This could be rented out and i believe it would work out
much cheaper than what is currently being spent on the control of
horses in the county. It would also educate people how to care for
their animal properly."
Cllr. Brady went onto say "I am concerned that Wicklow county council
has issued no horse licences as they are required to do under the
Control of Horses Act. This is despite the fact that since 2011, 80
horses have been micro chipped and reclaimed, so the ownership has
been established and a licence is a basic requirement for the owner to
reclaim the horse. The annual cost of the licence is €31.74, it allows
the council to monitor the horse and to ensure it is looked after
properly and doesn't become a public safety issue."
"The council are liaising with the Department of Agriculture on this
issue, however i believe it has hit crisis point in some parts of the
county and the problem is much bigger than the council can actually
deal with so i am asking for the Department to directly intervene to
try tackle the issue on both animal welfare and public safety