A local authority inspector or member of an Garda Síochána may request a person whom he reasonably suspects of being the owner of a horse kept in a Control Area, whether or not he is the holder of a horse licence for the time being in force. Failure to comply with the request or to give false or misleading information is an offence.
An authorized person or member of an Garda Síochána may request the holder to produce the licence for inspection. If the person concerned fails to produce a valid licence within 10 days, he is guilty of an offence.
A local authority Inspector or a member of an Garda Síochána who finds a horse in a public place within a Control Area where he has reasonable cause to suspect there is no horse licence for the time being in force and the horse is not exempt may require the person in charge to remove it from the public place or the Control Area. Failure on the part of that person is an offence.
Regulations may be made for the identification of horses kept in a Control Area.
An Inspector or a member of an Garda Síochána may inspect or examine any horse. Where a person apparently in charge or control of a horse is subject to an examination or inspection, he must give assistance as may be required. Failure to do so is an offence.
A person who keeps or has a horse in his charge or control or the owner or manager of a place where a horse is found must give an Garda Síochána or authorized officers the name and address of the owner of the horse. Failure to do so is an offence.
An authorized officer or a member of an Garda Síochána, where there are reasonable grounds for suspecting that a person is or has committed an offence, he may request the suspected person’s name and address. Failure to comply is an offence. It is an offence to fail to give an address or to give false or misleading information.
An authorized person or a member of an Garda Síochána who has reasonable cause to believe that bye laws are being breached or the person is wilfully or recklessly permitting the horse to pose a danger to persons or property may direct the person to desist from so offending. A person who without reasonable excuse fails to comply with a direction is guilty of an offence.
A local authority Inspector or a member of an Garda Síochána who has reasonable cause to believe that a horse is in pain, distress or an acute state of neglect or so severely injured or diseased as to need veterinary attention, may require the owner or keeper or a person apparently in charge to obtain immediately or as may be specified, necessary veterinary attention. Failure to comply is an offence.
Where a local authority inspector or member of an Garda Síochána has reasonable cause to suspect an offence is being committed under the Act in any premises, or a person is causing harm or mistreating the horse on-premises or in any vehicle, such vehicle may be stopped and such premises or vehicle may be entered and searched for the purpose of the legislation.
A warrant from the District Court is required to search or enter a dwelling house without consent. It is an offence to obstruct or impede a member Garda Síochána in the exercise of functions under their legislation.
Detention of Horses
A local authority Inspector or member of an Garda Síochána may seize and detain any horse that he suspects it is
- a stray horse,
- causing a nuisance,
- not under adequate control,
- posing a danger to persons or property,
- posing a threat to the health or welfare of persons or other animals
- being kept in a Control Area without a licence,
- not capable of identification or
- being ridden in a manner contrary to the bylaw.
A horse may be seized where a requirement has been made to obtain veterinary attention but has not been complied with. A seized horse may be detained in a pound or other appropriate place. It is an offence to unlawfully remove a horse from a place where he is detained. The local authority may attach identification marks or devices to a seized horse.
Where a horse has been detained, he may be continued to be detained
- for evidence in criminal proceedings for such period as is reasonable or if proceedings are commenced, until the conclusion.
- where it is intended to make an application for forfeiture of the horse
- where the horse has previously been detained on two or more occasions so that it may be dealt with as below:
- in any other case in accordance with the byelaws.
Byelaws may make requirements for
- the display of notices in connection with detaining horses,
- fees to be, paid by the owner or keeper including fees for veterinary inspection and transportation and services.
- disposal by the local authority of horses that have been detained or where their owner or keeper as an owner cannot be found.
- disposal of a horse who has been detained where the owner or keeper can be found but fails to pay the relevant fees fails to produce a horse licence in force or fails to remove the horse.
- where the local authority orders the disposal of the horse,
- where release is refused or on such other relevant grounds as determined.
The Local authority may recover the sum spent from them by it in maintaining horses.
Its local authority or Superintendent or other persons with whom it enters an arrangement including a pound keeper may refuse to release a horse which has been detained where it is not satisfied that adequate accommodation and sustenance or veterinary attention will be provided or it has reason to believe the horse will be cruelly treated.
A horse may be disposed of by sale or auction. The Superintendent or person concerned shall take reasonable steps to ensure the horse is not sold to the owner or keeper from whom it has been seized.
Where a local authority decides to destroy or has entered arrangements for the destruction of a horse, it shall endeavour to have the horse humanely destroyed.
Where the horse is detained for the third time within a period of 13 months, it may be disposed of by the local authority as it sees fit. Where the authority or the Superintendent is of the opinion that
- the owner or keeper is not exercising adequate control over the horse so as to prevent it straying, causing a nuisance or posing danger to persons or property or
- the horse is likely to be in a public place while not under adequate control or identifiable or capable of identification.
Local authorities may prescribe the fees to be paid by the owner or keeper of a horse that is being detained or which is to be disposed of. They may be recovered from the owner or keeper.
Where a Superintendent proposes to dispose of a horse, he shall display a public notice to the effect where the horse is detained, or at such other places as he sees fit. He shall send notice in writing to the owner or keeper where he can be traced or his whereabouts is known, stating that after the expiration of five days or such longer time, term as is specified, it is intended to dispose of the horses. It is to give reasons for the disposal.
The owner or keeper may within that period make representations including in relation to whether he is in fact owner or keeper. Where the Superintendent or local authority having considered the representations, proposes to dispose of the horse, it shall notify the persons who has made the representation who may appeal within seven days to the District Court. If an appeal is made within seven days, the District Court determines the matter. The District Court decision is final save that a decision on a point of law may be appealed to the High Court.
Where after examination by a veterinary surgeon, he is of the opinion that a horse which has been detained is in pain, distress or acute neglect or so severely injured or diseased that it is in the interest of the welfare of the horse or the safety, health or welfare of other animals or persons, to have it humanely destroyed, the horse may be directed to be destroyed immediately or as soon as may be.
Local authorities are to maintain registers of horses seized and detained in their area. The register is to contain
- identification reference, description,
- date of seizure and detention,
- particulars of the manner in which the horse is to be dealt,
- details of the person by whom the horse is reclaimed,
- particulars of where the horse is detained.
It is an offence to sell a horse to a person under 16 years of age.
The owner or keeper of a horse who wilfully or recklessly permits the horse to pose a danger to persons or cause injury to persons or property is guilty of an offence. It is an offence wilfully or recklessly to cause a horse to pose a danger to persons or property.
Local authorities may make bye laws for the control and welfare of horses. They may include such matters as
the manner in which the horses is to be kept under control by a person having charge of it in a public place including a market or fair so as to prevent injury or nuisance to persons or damage to property.
- the conditions under which a horse is to be kept including stabling, feeding and watering of the horses in any place.
- specifying the measures to be taken by the owner or keeper of the horse to prevent nuisance being caused to persons occupying premises adjoining it or in the vicinity of where it is usually kept.
Failure to comply with a byelaw is an offence.
Local authorities may make byelaws
- where it considers horses are causing a nuisance or danger to persons or property
- to prohibit persons from having, keeping, riding or driving horses in that place or
- at such times or at any time as may be specified.
Exemptions may be made. Breach of the byelaws is an offence. An authorized Inspector or member of an Garda Síochána who reasonably suspects contravention of a byelaw may immediately remove the horse from the area in which it applies.
A person convicted of offences under the last provision may in addition to the penalty imposed by the court, be disqualified from keeping, dealing with or having charge, control directly or indirectly of a horse for such period as is specified, up to their life. A person on whom a disqualification order has been made may at any time after three months apply for the removal of the disqualification.
On conviction of an offence, the court may on application, order the forfeiture of the horse to the local authority that has prosecuted the offence or where it is satisfied, that the owner is unknown or cannot be found or it considers it appropriate having regard to the welfare and interest of horse and the fitness of that person to own the horse.
Where an order is made under the provision, the local authority may seize and retain the horse concerned if it has not already done so and taken other steps as are necessary for such purpose.
There are on the spot fine provisions in lieu of prosecution for certain offences. Where a payment is made, the prosecution is not undertaken.
The register is open at all reasonable times for inspection on payment of a fee. A person is entitled to obtain an extraction of the register on payment of a fee.
The local authority may by byelaws declare all or part of its functional area to be a Control Area where it is satisfied that horses should be licensed having regard for the need to control them, need to prevent nuisance, annoyance or injury to persons or damage to property by horses or such other matters as it considers relevant.
Where a local authority has declared a Control Area and horses are straying into that area from other areas or into adjacent areas of other local authorities, they may request the adjoining local authority to declare that part of the functional areas to be a Control Area. If it refuses to do so, the Minister may require it to be so declared.
Important Notice! This website is provided for informational purposes only! It is a fundamental condition of the use of this website that no liability is accepted for any loss or damage caused by reason of any error, omission, or misstatement in its contents.
Draft Articles; The articles on this website are in draft form and are subject to further review for typographical errors and, in some cases, updating and correction. It is intended to include references to the sources of materials and acknowledgements in the final version. The content of articles with [EU] in the title and some of the articles in the section on Agriculture are a reproduction of or are based on European or Irish public sector information.