Horse neglect crisis deepens as ISPCA can no longer help

Youths surround a horse impaled on railings near the Hebron Road.
The ISPCA has today announced that its equine services have reached breaking point, and it is now unable to care for any more distressed horses, writes Sam Matthews.

The ISPCA has today announced that its equine services have reached breaking point, and it is now unable to care for any more distressed horses, writes Sam Matthews.

The charitable organisation has revealed that its facilities are already filled well beyond capacity, and the volume of helpline calls relating to equine distress continues to rise at an ‘alarming rate’. The Kilkenny People has highlighted the problem locally in recent weeks, and the above picture is another image from last week’s story which detailed the suffering of ponies near the Hebron Road.

Currently, the helpline is handling 33% more equine calls than last year – its previous highest recorded period. Some 9% of all phone calls relating to neglected or abused horses last year came from Kilkenny. Almost 100 of these animals had to be taken into ISPCA care – a 10% increase from the previous year relating to abused and neglected horses, ponies and foals.

“Today unfortunately we are telling the public that our hands are tied,” said Noel Griffin, CEO of the ISPCA.

“All our stables are full and without further support sadly there is nothing we can do for horses in distress who need shelter.

The ISPCA is an animal welfare organisation that relies primarily on fundraising to provideservices so finance is always a major concern.

The organisation is now pleading with county councils and the Government to do more to help with the deepening crisis of equine neglect.

“We are asking the local authorities and the Department of Agriculture to urgently help us in a number of key areas; the enforcement of ID regulations and control of horses and equine premises registration,” said Mr Griffin.

“Large groups of horses in urban areas are of particular concern as their ownership is unclear, nobody can be forced to take responsibility for them.”

“The ISPCA acknowledges the Department of Agriculture and local authorities are being pro-active on this issue in certain areas however the number of horses, foals, ponies and donkeys needing rescue is overwhelming across the entire country. Strong and consistent enforcement of legislation in every county is required to address this welfare crisis sufficiently.

“Today is a plea to members of the public who can offer a horse a home to please call our National Animal Centre 043 33 25035 if you have the opportunity to rehome.”