Shocking figures released by Louth County Council reveal that seven out of ten of the horses that were removed from the Cooley Mountains were destroyed.
According to Chief Veterinary Officer Garrett Shine, 76 horses were removed from the mountain to date in 2013.
The vast majority of these were rounded up on mass at the beginning of the year.
Of the 76, some 54 were destroyed.
In response to a query from the paper Mr Shine said: “76 horses, five donkeys and four goats were seized in the North Louth area.
“Also there were 15 dead horses removed from the Cooley mountains by the council over this period.
“Of the seized horses, none we licensed under the byelaws and only 2 were microchipped and passported,
Twelve were reclaimed, ten rehomed and the rest were unidentified horses that were not reclaimed and so were euthanased, very often on welfare grounds as a significant portion were clinically underweight with poor body condition scores.”
The presecene of horse son the mountain had become a devisive issue on the pennisula, with some seeing the horses on the commonage as a pleasant and harmless sight, while others saw it as an animal welfare problem and a potential danger to the public and motorists.
Holly’s Horse Haven in Omeath have been campaigning for something to be done about the horses, and witnessed the condition of the animals that were taken off the range.
“Many of the horse were effectively beyond saving,” says Elaine Duffy of Hollys Horse Haven. “The condition of some of the animals was just appalling.
“Where ever that is a chance of saving an animal we take it.
“They get put into our backing programme, which makes them ridable and gives them a far better chance of rehoming.
“Unfortunately this is a direct result of people abandoning horses on the mountain.”
Referring to the various stakehodlers on the mountain, Elaine says: “God if they would all do less bickering between themselves and more working together there would so many more horses and ponies saved in this country.”
The number of horses that have had to be dealt with by Louth Local Authorities, because they no longer have legal or responsible owners, has dramatically increased since the economic recession started.
In a report on the control of dogs and horses in the county, Mr Shine told members of Dundalk Town Council that this year alone one hundred horses have been abandoned in across the county of Louth, though the vast majority were taken from the Cooleys.
Last week Cllr Dearey found this figure very alarming but congratulated the council on the success in finding homes for dogs taken to the county pound.
Deputy Gerry Adams had also voiced his concern earlier in the year regarding the horses, but he did reply to a request for comment regarding the high percentage of horses that were ultimately euthanised.