City like ‘wild west’ due to stray horses

City like ‘wild west’ due to stray horses
A dead horse abandoned in a housing estate in Dublin Hill

STRAY horses are roaming free in Cork city like a scene from the ‘wild west.’

That was the message from city councillors, who have called for a clampdown on animal welfare in the city, following the cruel death of a horse in Dublin Hill, last month.

The horse collapsed and died in a busy residential area, prompting an outcry, with demands for a major shift in attitudes toward animal ownership in Cork.

Elected members called for Cork City Council to revisit Operation Capall, a multi-agency strategy which confiscated 80 animals in a single clampdown on welfare in 2013.

Independent councillor, Kieran McCarthy, suggested re-establishing the approach in the midst of ongoing issues with stray horses in many areas in Cork city.

Fianna Fail’s Terry Shannon said the situation is out of control.

“If you live in the city, you shouldn’t own a horse. It’s that simple,” he said.

“In my area, it’s like the wild west. Green areas and public areas have been destroyed by these animals, which pose a danger to people, if not looked after properly.”

Shane O’Shea, Sinn Fein, added that he encountered a horse on the South Douglas Road in recent weeks, the first time he had ever seen one in the area.

Sinn Fein’s Thomas Gould said: “There are 120 horses roaming the periphery of the city. Most of these aren’t tagged and registered. When it comes to cattle, we can trace it from birth to death, but horses don’t get the same treatement.

“We have dozens of horses that are being neglected and cruelly treated in this city. They are in improper conditions for an animal of their size and we need to do something about it.”

While some councillors were keen for animals to be seized, they also stressed the importance of introducing better long-term solutions.

Under current legislation, many animals are euthanised, with more than 30 facing this since the beginning of last year.

Sinn Fein’s Mick Nugent called for the development of a horse project, involving education, tagging, and a specific location for the animals to be raised. One had been identified under the city’s last horse project, though the plan failed to pass through the planning process, due to objections locally.

Meanwhile, Fine Gael’s John Buttimer said that the number of stray horses in city areas will ‘explode’ in the coming weeks and months, as the full extent of the fodder crisis is realised.

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