New strategy for stray horses demanded

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Stray horsesA NEW strategy to tackle the ongoing issue of stray horses in the city is being sought by local councillors who claim that the current plan which costs over €300,000 a year is not working.

Limerick City Council spends more than any other local authority on dealing with stray and abandoned horses. Unwanted horses cost the Council €307,000 last year and €361,000 in 2011. These costs include the impounding of animals and their disposal if unclaimed.

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Cork-based company Four Seasons Promotion Limited, trading as ACS, are contracted by Limerick City Council to seize stray horses. City councillors are now calling for a local company to be sourced for this contract. The local authority is currently being charged for “aborted” trips by the Cork company where no animal is seized; in many cases they have simply moved on by the time ACS arrive in Limerick.

Cllr John Gilligan said the control of stray horses was a serious problem that was not being tackled at all.

“We spend more time talking about horses than people down here. I’m on the council 20 odd years and we’re talking about it that long. The problem is not getting any better and I would ask senior members of City Council to take a look at this issue to see what can be done,” he said.

Cllr Joe Leddin said he had just received a call before the meeting from Prospect United about stray horses destroying the pitches at Caledonian Park.

“The control of  horses is constantly on the agenda.There is a huge number of aborted trips where animals have disappeared and we’re still being charged for these trips. I ask the director to take a look at this and the possibility of a company being sourced locally for the collection of horses,” he said.

Stating that the current situation was completely ridiculous, Cllr Diarmuid Scully called on the council to come up with a control policy for stray and abandoned horses that works.

“What kind of insanity are we locked into? What we’ve been doing is insane and it’s just burning tax payers money. It’s a complete and utter disaster,” he added.

Cllr Michael Hourigan said reports that the Limerick local authority spends the most on dealing with the issue, makes the Council look “ridiculous”.

Cllr Tom Shortt said it was time for a fresh approach to the issue.

“This problem is not going away. We need to work with people and not follow a law and order approach,” he said.

City Manager Conn Murray said he recognised how serious this issue was and undertook to assign the appropriate body to review it.