None of 85 horses seized in Cork claimed by owners

Dept of Agriculture says owners have five days to claim their animals

None of the 85 horses seized by Department of Agriculture officials in Cork on Tuesday have yet been claimed by their owners . File Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

None of the 85 horses seized by Department of Agriculture officials in Cork on Tuesday have yet been claimed by their owners . File Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Thu, Nov 21, 2013, 21:06

None of the 85 horses seized by Department of Agriculture officials in Cork on Tuesday have yet been claimed by their owners who have a further two days to claim the animals before they are put down, The Department of Agriculture has confirmed.

According to the Department of Agriculture, the horses are being kept in a secure location which it did not disclose and while no animals have yet been claimed, owners have five days to produce the appropriate paperwork to allow them reclaim the animals.

“Typically horses seized and unclaimed are assessed as regards suitability for and feasibility of re-homing. If unsuitable for re-homing or if re-homing not possible, horses are euthanised,” said the Department of Agriculture in its statement.

Some 85 horses were rounded up in Cork on Tuesday when some 60 gardaí assisted officials from the Department of Agriculture in a day-long operation across four sites in the Gurranebraher, Hollyhill, Knocknaheeny and Nash’s Boreen area of Cork’s northside.

Minister for Agriculture, Simon Coveney said that there had been ongoing welfare concerns in relation to the horse sector over the past 12 months arising from over-production of horses and the presence of unidentified horses on both public and private lands.

Mr Coveney said that there have been particular problems with horses in the Gurranebraher, Hollyhill, Knocknaheeny and Nash’s Boreen areas of Cork’s northside with incidents of dead horses found on sites and stray horses on public roads causing risk to public etc.

“My Department and Cork City Council have been working to prevent the emergence of a welfare problem over coming months and had decided to take this action, which is aimed at removing the horses, evaluating their welfare and checking on their identification,” he said.

“The horses impounded will not be released unless the owner can provide proof that they have a passport, have paid the appropriate fees and have access to lands registered under the equine regulations,” he added.

However the approach adopted by gardaí was criticised by Chrissie O’Sullivan of the Cork Travellers Visibility Group who told the Neil Prendeville Show on Cork’s 96FM that a more conciliatory approach should have been adopted.

“Unfortunately it’s a very adversarial approach to the problem ... there are better ways of doing things - they could have sat down and talked about this with the families and we could have had a lead in time - the families that are genuinely looking after their animals are being punished as well.”