Horses along the M50 corridor – 5,000 animals


Jimmy Cahill of the Dublin Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (DSPCA) presented his work at the Northwest Area Committee on Friday 17th December 2010.

In 2008, there were 26 horses in Rathfarnham; in 2009, 106 horses taken to Rathfarnham and 40 had to be put-down; 2010 to date 117 horses taken and 58 horses euthanased. 45 other horses were so badly emaciated that they had to be put down on site.

The horse population in the country grew rapidly during the last decade as horse race syndicates expanded. With the economic depression, the numbers of horses abandoned hugely increased because it takes €350 plus to put down a horse and many could not afford the costs. To own a horse you should have enough resources to feed house and look after the horse with a farrier and veterinary fees.

The Department of Agriculture spends €2 million for the whole country. The DSPCA spent €400,000 on horse rescue in 2009 and already in 2010, DSPCA spent >€600,000 on this. The DSPCA collects €2 million from the public annually.

Magnitude of the Problem in Dublin.

The DSPCA has done a count of horses alongside the M50 from Tallaght to Donamede using a helicopter and found 5,000 horses. That is FIVE THOUSAND horses.

In Dunsink Lands over the dump there are 150 horses. 35 horses were buried in a mass grave there and some emaciated horses were attacked by dogs. Dead horses were also dumped in Cold Winters off the Ashbourne Road near Finglas.

About 1.5 acres of grazing are needed per horse from May to end of September but growth last summer was worse than normal so horses are relatively undernourished at this time.

A horse stands with pain and suffering until it falls down and dies. It doesn’t whimper like a dog or cat.


Multi-agency approach – Department of Agriculture, DSPCA, Dublin City Council and all local authorities.
No under 16 year olds should be allowed buy a horse
Horse licences, passport and microchips must be enforced for every horse.
Amnesty to surrender horses for each county
There are people all over Europe looking to house Irish horses.

The Fingal County Council intend to build 45 stables with one horse for each family. They intend to make this individual and have no club specifically catered for. Fingal have also promised to feed the horses at Dunsink into the new year but have no specific budget.

Smithfield Horse Market once per month

Get an alternative site probably in northwest of the city and close Smithfield .

Regulate the activities and make all horse transactions legal.

Enabling Legislation

The government has prepared enabling legislation to close Smithfield. There is a space problem and the surface is wrong for showing horses.

In the meanwhile, the Gardai will enforce the law on microchips, licences and passports. Whether a trading licence to allow dealers to operate can be introduced is a new question. The Gardai are concerned about Public Order if they try to enforce the law. There are many ways to skin a cat!

Finglas Horse and Pony club

Colm Kiernan and his group run a wholly legal club abiding by all the rules of chips, passports and licences. We, as Finglas Representatives, must ensure that there is land provision at Dunsink for these people. The alternative is just north of the M50. Some of the group are keeping horses in Swords.

Current Freeze

I want to thank horse lovers who have been delivering hay to Dunsink to feed the starving horses. Some have sent me e-mails.

Public Concern

I received the following e-mail from Sylwia Szczypya which speaks for itself.

Dear Sir/Madam

My name is Sylwia Szczypta. For last few days (since the snow has

fallen) I have been visiting the group of horses (as far as I know

they have been abandoned) that “live” on the field between Dunsink and

the M50. I have spotted over 20 horses incl pregnant mares, foals etc.

Some of those horses are still in quite good condition, some are not. I have been

delivering hay for them , usually 4 or 5 square bales of hay each

time. I am not sure if there is any source of water as I couldn’t

find any.

I wonder what else could I do to help those animals. The winter is

coming, nights are very cold and I am afraid that some of those horses

(foals) will die.

I wonder if I am allowed to find them a new home? I have managed to find some people that can adopt some of the horses. Would it be possible to get the key to the main gate to that garbage/field as there is no car access and it’s very difficult to deliver the hay over there.

I have set up a page on Facebook and I am trying to get more people

involved in that “project”. Unfortunately I am not able to feed those horses on a daily

basis. There is not much grass left for them.

Please find the link to my Facebook page:!/pages/SAVE-abandoned-and-starving-horses/172753279415849