The horrific killing of a foal on the city’s east side has led to calls for the development of community fields and stables, as a way to tackle the problem of horses in the city, and prevent any more horses coming to serious harm.
Recently on the city’s east side, a young foal was beaten to death by a group of youths, and its body subsequently set on fire. The action has resulted in condemnation from local politicians and the establishment of an online petition calling on the Galway City Council to enforce existing animal welfare/protection laws.
The killing of the foal has not only highlighted instances of animal cruelty in the city, but also raised again the vexed issue of horses being kept in residential estates.
Sinn Féin councillor Mairéad Farrell, who described the incident as a “vile” and “horrendous and wanton killing”, said the only way to prevent such an instance from recurring is by tacking “anti-social behaviour and the presence of horses in housing estates”.
Cllr Farrell said horses cannot be allowed to remain on housing estates and that there must be “no exceptions” made in this regard. However she acknowledged that many young people on estates are “deeply enthralled with horses” and that this interest should be supported and developed.
As a result she is calling on the Galway City Council to develop a community project where fields are provided and stables developed for horses. “This would tackle both the horse problem and to a certain extent also the problem of anti-social behaviour,” she said, as it could lead to more interest in equine welfare among young people in estates where horses are a common sight.
Cllr Farrell added that to further combat anti-social behaviour, more gardaí are needed “on the beat”, and local representatives given “a direct input into local policing plans”.
The Galway City East councillor is seeking the support of her fellow elected representatives for her call for to develop stables and fields for city horses.
“It is essential Galway councillors speak with one voice on this issue and seek the extra funding needed,” she said. “As the National Youth Council has observed, for every €1 invested in youth work €2.22 is saved in other services. The State would make major financial savings by investing in our youth.”
The killing of the foal has also led to a petition thepetitionsite.com calling on the council to enforce animal welfare laws. The petition accuses City Hall of failing to enforce the microchipping of horses; and of not taking action over how horses are treated.
The petition alleges that some horses are “often tied up for days on end in small fields in the middle of our housing estates and on wholly unsuitable hardstands, often with no water”.
Notification of the petition has been sent to all Galway City Council members, the Garda Superintendent in Mill Street, and the Garda Communications Office.