Belfast Telegraph

Neglected horses struggle for ISPCA

Animal welfare officers have been left struggling to cope after 22 neglected horses were taken into care over two days.

The Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ISPCA) warned the equine welfare crisis gripping the country has escalated to levels that have rocked the charity.

A total of 30 horses left to die have been saved in the last two weeks, with 22 animals taken in over a 48-hour period from locations across Donegal, Cork, Westmeath and Carlow.

ISPCA inspectors are also discovering dead horses on an almost daily basis.

Conor Dowling, chief inspector, said: "We are really only fire-fighting, trying to address the most serious situations.

"Our inspectors are trying in vain to keep on top of the volume of calls that they are receiving and must prioritise those that they think most urgent. I am aware any complaints which they have been unable to get to weigh heavy on their minds every evening."

The ISPCA revealed one inspector in Cork, Lisa O'Donovan, was forced to put down the most severe cases on successive days this week to ensure the horses had humane deaths.

The organisation is so stretched dealing with the most needy of cases where horses are in immediate danger it is being forced to leave other animals in conditions that would not normally be considered acceptable.

It appealed for donations through www.ispca.ie and called on the Government to take increased ownership of the problem, which is threatening to damage the reputation of the Irish horse industry worldwide.

Mr Downing continued: "We cannot continue to take in equines at the rate we are currently. It simply isn't sustainable. Our facilities are already stocked well beyond their designed capacity."

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