Officials from the Department of Agriculture have decided not to prosecute anyone over the abandonment of seven thoroughbred horses in Co Kildare.
The horses were found last November in a forest at Dereens, near Naas, and had previously been kept in a rented barn in the yard of JD Moore, the son of trainer Arthur Moore.
Gary Lindsay, with an address in Booterstown, Co Dublin, was the last registered owner of at least one of the horses, their digital passports showed.
JD Moore has confirmed he rented out a barn in his yard to Mr Lindsay for several horses up until October last year. The forest where the malnourished horses were found is on the same road as the yard.
Both Mr Lindsay and JD Moore said they had no knowledge of how the horses came to be abandoned. The two were interviewed by department investigators.
Speaking to The Irish Times, Mr Lindsay said he had been part-owner of the horses, and believed they had been sold. He said they had not been in his ownership for a “long, long time”.
JD Moore works as a bloodstock agent, providing advice on the value of thoroughbred horses. He said there had been problems contacting Mr Lindsay for nearly a year prior to October, and “one morning everything was gone”. Mr Moore said he was not aware who had cleared the horses out of the barn.
Department investigators could not “gather sufficient evidence to warrant a prosecution” against anyone, and the case was recently closed, a spokesman said.
“All horses were successfully retrieved from the woods and rehomed and no other welfare issues arise,” he added.
The horses were found by volunteers from the My Lovely Horse Rescue group. Maddie Doyle, a volunteer with the group, said the horses were "extremely underweight" when found, with "varying degrees of lameness" and difficulties moving.
The only water source the animals had had was poor quality muddy water. The horse rescue group has since housed or fostered the horses.
All seven are microchipped, and there is a requirement to update the passport of a thoroughbred horse if it changes ownership.
Arthur Moore trained 2011 Irish Grand National winner Organisedconfusion, and has a yard several minutes down the road from that of his son.
Out of the 1,549 horses seized or found abandoned by local councils last year, 1,183 were put down. Just six cases relating to the welfare of horses were successfully prosecuted by the department between 2014 and 2016.