MORE than 90% of abandoned horses rounded up by Cork County Council have been 'put down' so far this year.
A total of 41 abandoned horses have been out down by the local authority from 45 collected, costing the local authority almost €17,000.
Only four horses have been re-homed and none were sent to animal sanctuaries. Sixty-four horses were put to sleep in 2017.
Councillor Anthony Barry (FG) has repeatedly raised the issue with Council officials and has described the current rate of euthanisation as “shocking”.
“I think it's appalling. Having to euthanise animals like that is shocking. It's very sad that the owners aren't taking responsibility.
“There is a cost to Cork County Council because the animals are not chipped and the owners can't be identified. The Cobh and Bandon-Kinsale districts seem to be particularly problematic.”
Senior executive officer for County Hall's environment directorate Ted O'Leary said the local authority does everything it can for the animals to ensure that as many horses as possible are allowed to live.
“We have well-established protocols in place to ensure the euthanisation of animals is minimised,” he said.
Mr Barry also expressed concern that 16 trips to round-up stray horses have been abandoned this year and queried the cost associated with these and the circumstances involved.
Mr O'Leary said Gardaí and service providers for collecting horses work together.
“There is a cost anytime any one of our staff travels anywhere for any purpose," he said.
"We have protocols established with the Gardaí and service providers that deal with stray horses but I can't comment specifically on what reasons there were for the aborted trips,” he added.
The total cost per horse collected through to euthanisation is €785, but County Council only receives €375 from the Department of Agriculture Food and the Marine and must bear a cost of €410 for each animal. The cost to the authority is not offset by any licence fees.