Kilkenny County Council has seized just one-fifth the number of stray horses this year that it seized in 2015, according to figures released by the Minister for Agriculture.
In answer to a Dáil question, the minister set out the number of horses seized in every county in Ireland since 2015, and up to the third quarter of this year.
In 2015 a total of 75 horses were seized in Kilkenny. This year, so far, just 15 horses have been seized by Kilkenny County Council.
A question was asked in the Dáil by Tipperary TD Jackie Cahill, who enquired of the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the number of horses seized and or impounded for trespass and for non-compliance with chipping law and regulation by county in each of the years 2015 to 2018.
In 2015 75 horses were seized. In 2016 52 horses were seized. In both 2017 and 2018 21 horses were seized each year.
The minister replied: "The Control of Horses Act 1996, provides the necessary powers to Local Authorities to deal with stray and abandoned horses.
"The Act contains provisions for the licencing and identification of horses and was introduced to address the issues caused by stray and wandering horses due to public safety concerns. The primary purpose of the Act was to address the dangerous and unacceptable situation of horses being kept in unsuitable conditions which in many cases resulted in horses wandering onto public roads and public lands posing very serious risks to the public especially motorists and young children. The Act provides for the designation, by local authority byelaws, of control areas in which horses cannot be kept without a licence. Enforcement the Act is a matter for each Local Authority.
"The number of horses being seized nationally continues to decline. This reduction is reflective of a number of factors including initiatives being progressed by my Department in the animal welfare area as well as active enforcement of the Animal Health and Welfare Act 2013 and the EU Equine Identification Regulations. In tandem with the work of the Local Authorities under the Control of Horses Act, officials of my Department have been directly involved in a number of horse seizures and have initiated prosecutions under the Animal Health and Welfare Act."