December 2, 2023

Kilkenny Council to introduce horse exclusion zone on 20 streets in bid to crack down on animal welfare abuse

A new horse exclusion zone will hopefully help end animal welfare abuses locally after 28 animals were seized in recent weeks by Kilkenny County Council.

The new zone on 20 of Kilkenny city streets is also set to be unveiled in the coming weeks by Kilkenny County Council as animal welfare by-laws adopted are finally beginning to have an impact.

Councillor Andrew McGuinness proposed two laws over the past five years regarding animal welfare in Kilkenny and he is happy to finally see some results.

The first proposal in 2015, was to ban sulkie racing on public roads in Kilkenny. It also included measures to combat the indiscriminate keeping of animals in fields around the city and county.

The by-law enacted meant a horse left in a field must have sufficient food, water and shelter, and the owner of the animal must provide written evidence that there is an agreement or lease with the owner of the field the horse is in. The law also meant the horse must be registered and chipped.

This by-law was passed unanimously by the council in 2015. In recent weeks the local authority has used this law to enter lands and inspect the animals left there. They have seized 28 horses a result.

A second by-law Cllr McGuinness proposed was to create ‘Horse Exclusion Zones’ in Kilkenny City. This law he hoped would prevent horses from being abused in environments they are not meant to be in, while also giving the Gardai the ability to deal with such cruelty. This was passed unanimously in 2017.

After three years of work, the Council is ready to publish the list of 20 streets in Kilkenny City where Exclusion Zones will be piloted. This list will go on public display before the end of March.

Cllr McGuinness told he is very happy with recent progress and positive results but is also frustrated that it has taken so long to get to this point.

“Im happy that animal welfare is getting the attention that it deserves and the laws that I worked so hard to compile over the last six years are now showing positive results.

“It gives me great satisfaction to see that my work has made a beneficial difference in terms of animal welfare. However, it’s frustrating that these things take so long to come to fruition.

“I have always said that, no matter what, I am 100% dedicated to this issue and will do my utmost to combat animal cruelty. While we are seeing positive results now, we are nowhere near the finish line.

“Im determined to continue my work on this issue and I welcome the input and support of all of the Council members and Im delighted to see some of the newly elected members also taking an interest,” Cllr McGuinness concluded.

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