Kilkenny County Council has spent over €170,000 since 2013 in seizing stray horses or horses causing a danger to persons or property, new figures have revealed.
The figures for the local authority here however show that expenditure has been decreasing dramatically in the area of horse control while the number of seizures have also reduced.
Social Democrats TD Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Agriculture about the enforcement of Section 37 of the Control of Horses Act 1996 and Minister Michael Creed revealed the figures in a written response.
Kilkenny County Council had an expenditure of €81,907 in 2013 in dealing with stray and abandoned horses.
The Government funding towards the expenses, incurred in seizing stray horses or horses causing a danger to persons or property, dropped to €39,659 in 2014, €33,750 in 2015 and €17,575 in 2016 and €4,750 last year. In 2013, there were 99 horse seizures in Kilkenny compared to 89 in 2014.
In 2015 this had fallen again to 75 and 52 in 2016 while last year there were only 14 horses seized.
Fianna Fáil Cllr Andrew McGuinness said: “While there seems to be a positive improvement in terms of horse seizures, which I’m very pleased with, I do believe the problems associated with the misuse of horses in Kilkenny cannot be gauged by the numbers of horses seized.
"It’s a positive start but only a ripple in the ocean in terms of dealing with the constant dangers to road users and the continued animal abuse that we have seen far too often in Kilkenny.
"We need national legislation banning sulky racing off public roads throughout Ireland, we need to regulate the use of horse and cart and bring in a roadworthy test similar to an NCT, register every horse and cart and ensure they can only be operated by adults.
“Locally, we have passed byelaws banning sulky racing off our roads but this has proven to be extremely difficult to enforce.”
He added: “I have now put forward proposals to create horse exclusion zones in the city and county preventing horses being used where they simply should not be.
Minister Creed said: “My Department provides financial assistance towards the expenses incurred by the Local Authorities in operation of the Act, namely in seizing straying horses or horses causing a danger to persons or property.”