Twleve dead horses are still rotting in Dublin fields over three months after they came to the public attention.
Animal welfare workers simply cannot afford to deal with the carcasses while also trying to save dozens more who have been brutally neglected and abused in the Clondalkin area of west Dublin.
The Dublin Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (DSPCA) has now warned that more horses will die and one senior politician today called for the Department of Agriculture to intervene.
Fine Gael Seanad leader Frances Fitzgerald told the Herald: "Dead horses lying so close to the water supply for such a long period of time is completely unacceptable. Action needs to be taken."
South Dublin County Council recently rounded up 20 horses but senior executive officer John Quinlivan said that every time they take horses away "20 more seem to appear".
Calls to the DSPCA from concerned and disgusted members of the public are up 200pc, but a spokesperson says they are struggling to cope.
"The whole situation is very distressing. There are about 40 horses roaming out there now. A mare foaled recently in the vicinity," explained Orla Aungier.
"I wish we could do something about them, but we can only try to look after sick or cruelly treated animals. These horses had no dignity in life and even less in death."
Dogs and foxes are feeding on the carcasses of the dead horses, despite expectations that they would be removed weeks ago.
Senator Fitzgerald now wants the Department of Agriculture to "issue a directive to the council instructing it how to act on this issue as a matter of urgency".
She noted that the cold weather has actually helped the situation but decomposition will increase as temperatures rise.
"People are very upset at seeing those dead horses just left there. There is horrific cruelty going on. One had its head put in a stream and its legs broken," she said.
Mr Quinlivan of South Dublin County Council told the Herald that they now plan to remove the carcasses in the coming week.
"We've been talking to landowners and we're hoping they'll be gone as soon as possible," he said, adding: "Finding people to do the job is difficult."
The Herald has previously revealed how unscrupulous horse traders are selling neglected animals to youths for as little as €8, and Mr Quinlivan noted that wild horses "are showing up a lot more frequently than in the past."
"It's an expensive business," he said while explaining that the recent round-up cost €10,000 alone.
Ms Aungier said that rescuing a single ill-treated horse can cost €18,000 once manpower, vehicles and medicines are factored in.