Calls for action after horse found dead on Tallaght green space

By Mary Dennehy

CALLS have been made for all councils to "rigorously enforce" the Control of Horses Act after a horse was found dead on a Tallaght green space yesterday.

The horse, which was tethered to a spike in a green space in Knockmore, was reported to South Dublin County Council before Christmas.

However, it was not removed and yesterday (January 11) the animal lost its life and was found dead by residents.


An image of the dead horse in Knockmore yesterday 

After being alerted of the tragic incident, volunteers from My Lovely Horse Rescue (MLHR) stressed that the practice of horses being tethered or left loose on public green spaces has to stop, and that it should “no longer be tolerated”. 

They have also asked residents to raise the issue with their local councillors and TDs. 

According to My Lovely Horse Rescue: “By law (Control of Horses Act 1996), horses are banned from council property and it's the council's job to enforce this ban.

“MLHR are calling on all councils to rigorously enforce the Control of Horses Act and related bye-laws in order to deter tethering of horses, loose/stray horses on or near public roads, and the related welfare issues that go along with tethering and straying. It must no longer be tolerated.

“We may never know the exact cause of death of this horse, however tethering is very dangerous and also restricts access to water and feed.”

Communities have also been raising the health and safety issues around loose or tethered horses in estates, both in the interest of the animals and residents.

When contacted by today, Mary Maguire of the council’s environment department said: “I can confirm that the council was aware of the presence of a horse at this location and was in contact with the alleged owner in this regard in December.

“I can also confirm that the issue of urban horse ownership and animal welfare is very high on the council‘s agenda.

“The council engages a competent contractor for the provision and operation of the horse seizure service and horse pound facility, and as such all seized horses are taken to the horse pound facility where (if not already) they are microchipped on arrival, and examined by a veterinary practitioner.”

She added: “The council's [Control of Horses Bye-Laws 2014] are actively enforced and provide the council with stronger tools to deal with issues which impact negatively on communities and animals alike, and we also administer the Control of Horses Act 1996. 

“The provisions of the Act and the Bye-Laws are fully utilised to reduce the number of horses that are being kept unlawfully (without licence / passport) in unsuitable conditions, or in areas where their presence has an adverse effect on the community.

“It is acknowledged that this council, in collaboration with Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine is particularly proactive in the management of, and promotion of responsible urban horse ownership.”

When contacted by, the Department of Agriculture said: “Incidents of animal cruelty are totally unacceptable.

“The Department operates an Animal Welfare Helpline email address, which facilitates the reporting by members of the public of any suspicion of poor animal welfare or animal cruelty taking place.

“Increased public awareness of animal welfare, in conjunction with this confidential means of reporting issues, has proven to be very effective in responding to reports of alleged animal welfare issues throughout the cities and country.”

My Lovely Horse Rescue has encouraged people to report horses on public land to the council and the Department of Agriculture Animal Welfare Helpline.

Volunteers have also advised any residents that are feeding stray horses to not feed them potatoes, bread, cut grass or too many carrots or apples, as these can made a horse sick or colic. Hay is the safest bet.

Report loose or tethered horses to the council on 4149000 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Follow My Lovely Horse Rescue on its Facebook page.

For further coverage on this issue see next Thursday’s Echo.

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