Irish dump pet ponies, racehorses bought in boom

Thu Apr 16, 2009 10:46am EDT
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By Padraic Halpin

DUBLIN (Reuters Life!) - The latest arrivals at a south Dublin animal shelter -- four horses rescued earlier this week -- are little more than skin and bone.

They are the lucky ones.

As the Irish economy heads into a second straight year of severe recession people are cutting back on the luxuries they acquired during the go-go years of the "Celtic Tiger" economy.

Top of the list are pet ponies and horses.

Stables at the Dublin Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (DSPCA) are at bursting point.

"If you take into account the number of race horses, syndicate horses and horses bought at Smithfield or markets like that, there are around 20,000 that nobody wants," says Jimmy Cahill, general manager at the DSPCA.

"We get offered horses every day from people who don't want to look after them anymore and turn away six or seven a week. We reached our capacity on January 3rd but we still do what we can for the sick and injured."

The society has taken in 54 injured horses so far this year, already more than the total they found new homes for in 2008 and far outstripping the increase in other animals being treated.   Continued...