A total of twenty horses have been seized this year by Carlow's local authority, compared with 69 in 2015, new figures have revealed.
In a Parliamentary Question, Fianna Fáil TD Jackie Cahill asked the Minister for Agriculture for details on "the number of horses seized and or impounded for trespass and for non-compliance with chipping law and regulation by county".
He asked for figures in each of the years 2015 to 2018 and to date in 2019 which showed that in Carlow, there were 69 horses seized by the local authority in 2015.
This jumped to 76 in 2016 but fell to 24 and 13 in 2017 and 2018.
However, figures for the first nine months of this year have shown that the figure is rising again with a total of 20 seizures so far in 2019.
In a written response, Minister Michael Creed said: "The Control of Horses Act 1996, provides the necessary powers to Local Authorities to deal with stray and abandoned horses.
"The Act contains provisions for the licencing and identification of horses and was introduced to address the issues caused by stray and wandering horses due to public safety concerns.
"The primary purpose of the Act was to address the dangerous and unacceptable situation of horses being kept in unsuitable conditions which in many cases resulted in horses wandering onto public roads and public lands posing very serious risks to the public especially motorists and young children."
He added: "The Act provides for the designation, by local authority byelaws, of control areas in which horses cannot be kept without a licence. Enforcement the Act is a matter for each Local Authority.
"The number of horses being seized nationally continues to decline. This reduction is reflective of a number of factors including initiatives being progressed by my Department in the animal welfare area as well as active enforcement of the Animal Health and Welfare Act 2013 and the EU Equine Identification Regulations.
"In tandem with the work of the Local Authorities under the Control of Horses Act, officials of my Department have been directly involved in a number of horse seizures and have initiated prosecutions under the Animal Health and Welfare Act."
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