A horse welfare crisis seems to be brewing in the county with young boys telling a local county councillor they are purchasing horses for as little as €50.
Ballina based Cllr Gerry Guinty said the issue now demands urgent action at a meeting on Wednesday of the elected members of the authority at Áras an Chontae.
Cllr Ginty raised the issue of horse welfare, when he called on the authority to put in place a procedure with the Department of Agriculture to ensure animal carcases left in public places are removed in a timely manner.
He said the North Mayo Horse Sanctuary, a charity with which he is deeply involved, had no choice but to use some its already very scarce resources to dispose of two horse carcases in the last year because the council would not do so.
Cllr Ginty and it is a “terrible indictment on society” that these animals were otherwise being left to rot in public areas, in full view of children.
“It is being left to animal welfare organisations to deal with dead and half dead animals. This isn’t Calcultta where dead animals are left to rot on the streets,” he hit out.
Both of the horses Cllr Ginty referred to had met a very grisly end.
“One horse was dumped in a bog hole and another horse was tied to a tree on council land for a long, long, time and either jumped over a ditch or was driven over it and broke his back,” he told the Mayo Advertiser.
Cllr Ginty said unwanted horses are so numerous that they are being sold to children for less than €50 in some cases.
“It is disgraceful. This has to stop.”
The regulations and by-laws on horse welfare and microchipping are already in place but they have to be enforced to try and crack down on the problem, he added.
Cllr Patsy O’Brien agreed a welfare crisis is brewing.
“I have had repeated reports to me of horses loose on the roads in south Mayo.
“They are not being cared for and there is no market for them anymore so they are as good as abandoned.
“They are posing a serious danger to road users and it is only a matter of time before someone is fatally injured. There is an issue with abandoned horses right across the county,” he continued.
“The local authorites, gardaí, and relevant Department need to work together on this issue because as it stands, everyone is passing the book on this but it has to be dealt with.”