Horses left to starve on the banks of Limerick’s River Shannon

Nick Rabbitts


Nick Rabbitts

A sad sight: The horse which was found dead on the banks of the Shannon in Coonagh
INSPECTORS from the Limerick Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (LSPCA) have found two horses left to die.

INSPECTORS from the Limerick Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (LSPCA) have found two horses left to die.

In the last week, representatives of the charity discovered a horse which only recently died on lands near the Clare border beyond the Coonagh Cross Shopping Centre, on the banks of the River Shannon.

Another horse on the same site had long since died, with its remains scattered over the field.

It is understood Limerick City Council was unable to move the animals as they were found on private land.

The LSPCA is expected to move the horses in the coming days.

James Butler, the inspector who made the discovery confirmed: “We found the remains of a horse who died last year, then we found another horse who died there in the last couple of days.”

He said removing deceased creatures takes a lot of time, and effort.

“We need special machines to get onto the land. It takes a lot to move them. It can take ten minutes, an hour, or a full day, depending on the size of the horse, and the availability of a machine,” he said.

“At the moment, we don’t know how they are going to be taken out, but they will be removed from the place,” he confirmed.

Mr Butler says it is heartbreaking when they find horses left to starve, and advised people who do own horses to be vigilant.

“Keep your eyes on the horses. Make sure they are being fed, and they are not being left to starve to death. Look after them,” he appealed.

Fianna Fail’s election candidate for the northside Joe Crowley called for the more widespread microchipping of horses to prevent further tragedies like these - and penalise owners who do allow their animals to starve.

“The reason why so many horses are dead is because they are not being fed: they are too expensive to feed,” he said, “It is horrific for anyone who has to witness this. Everyone loves animals, and horses are a great working animal.” Stray horses have long been a problem in Limerick City.

This, in part, is due to the strict laws imposed by Limerick City Council which prevents the ownership of horses in the urban area.

Many people - particularly in the estates - flout this law, and stray horse are often picked up and impounded.

In the past, the City Council was able to reclaim the impounding fee from the Department of Agriculture.

However, city councillors have urged a new approach as this source of funding is being cut meaning they have to foot the bill on their own.

More than €300,000 was spent rounding up horses in 2013 alone.