It costs Galway County Council €350 each time animal welfare staff round up a horse, according to officials who confirmed this week that funding for the control of horses has been reduced significantly, putting even extra pressure on an already strained service.
At Monday’s monthly meeting councillors were presented with the financial report for the period ending June 30 2013 which showed that there has been an over expenditure on animals welfare, mainly arising from the increased costs associated with the recovery of abandoned horses. Councillors were told that so far this year 250 animals have already been picked up.
Clearly concerned with the situation, Fine Gael Cllr Bridie Willers asked: “Is there any truth in the rumour that funding for the control of horses is going to be reduced?”. She was told that as of September 1 the funding for “lifting of animals” has been reduced and that there is a need for these funds to be restored.
“It’s absolutely outrageous,” said Cllr Willers, who added: “We have a daily on-going problem and what the council has been doing is brilliant, but it’s only the tip of the iceberg. For every one rounded up there will be 10 a week later. We should be asking the minister to continue to fund the two local authorities”. This was backed by County Mayor Liam Carroll (FG ) who said it is an issue that is “close to my heart”.
Appealing to the councillors to have a more targetted approach in seeking more money, Cllr Jimmy McClearn (FG ) agreed that there is a serious situation where “horses are being abandoned in huge number”.
Sinn Féin Cllr Dermott Connolly then pointed out that the horse meat scandal caused havoc as there has been a huge reduction in the number of animals sent to factories to be slaughtered and exported to enter the food chain.