Horse abuse incidents ‘made for horrific viewing’

BY Maurice Garvey

HORSE abuse incidents in Clondalkin, Ballyfermot and Tallaght over the Halloween period, made it an even more harrowing week than usual for My Lovely Horse Rescue.

Each week, MLHR members finish their day jobs and go straight into volunteer work – answering distress calls from the public.

Fonthill horses 1

Horses packed in a field full of rubbish

It is often a dangerous and emotionally draining vocation, but volunteers are seeking legislative change to tackle an “urban horse crisis”.

“It all kicked off last week when volunteers went to a field in Fonthill, on the other side of Kioshogue train station, and found 14/15 horses scavenging in rubbish,” said a MLHR volunteer, who did not wish to be identify.

“It made for horrific viewing. We posted it to the council, DSPCA and local TD’s but nothing came of it. We went back over on Saturday and found one slowly strangling to death. She was in complete distress and pulling on the rope, but making it tighter.”

The group managed to free the horse and provide her with veterinary treatment at their farm in Kildare.

Saturday was Halloween and not a day the group were looking forward to, but they were out again in Tallaght and Ballyfermot, where they discovered a foal with rope embedded into his hoof and one of his front legs badly swollen from infection.

Ballyfermot Horse recovery 1

A rescued horse

“It was dumped in a field beside Labre Park but not from Labre Park. We have a good relationship with Labre Park but kids are dumping horses down the canal near Labre.

The foal’s legs were in bits. Trying to walk it the half km up the canal to the horse box, he was in agony. I was in bits. We don’t know if this little guy will survive.”

Of the multiple calls the group received on Halloween, one reported kids throwing fireworks at a horse in Fortunestown, Tallaght.

“A volunteer knocked on doors in the area, found the owner, and asked him to bring the horse in. My understanding is we were the only animal rescuers out over the weekend. The big government funded guys closed at 5pm on Friday.”

Part of the problem according to MLHR is that a horse can be bought for as little as €10 or €20.

“Horses are expensive to keep. Parents are allowing children to have one for their Communion or Confirmation, and then they just leave it in a field.

“We’re not opposed to horse ownership but we’re getting calls everyday and are trying to highlight the urban horse crisis in Clondalkin, Ballyfermot and Tallaght.”

Volunteers called gardai numerous times for the incident in Fonthill, to no avail and want authorities to “step up.”

“The crisis is so bad that we can’t help them all,” said the volunteer.

“We rely on public tips and will always check it out, but this is down to indiscriminate breeding. There are no programmes for gelding.

There is constant breeding but the boys (male horses) are dumped.

“We’ve tried getting into schools. Ideally, we need an animal task force in the gardai.

There is an Animal Health and Welfare Act but it is not enforced. Clondalkin Equine Club is great but they only have 12-15 stables. That doesn’t even scratch the surface.”

MLHR rely on donations from the public to keep going.

Donations can be made at

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