Control of Horses Act 1996 & Bye Laws

Control of Horses Act 1996

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An Act to provide for the control of horses and to make provision for the licensing of horses in urban and other areas where horses cause a danger to persons or property or nuisance and to amend certain other enactments relating to animals and to provide for related matters.

Under the Control of Horses Act 1996 a horse may be seized and impounded if it is:

  • a)  A Stray Horse, or
  • b)  Causing a nuisance, or
  • c)  Not under adequate control, or
  • d)  Posing a danger to persons or property, or
  • e)  Posing a threat to the health and welfare of persons or other animals, or
  • f)   Being kept in a control area, without a horse licence in respect of it entitling the horse to be kept in that area, or
  • g)   Not identifiable or capable of identification as may be required by Section 28, or
  • h)   In or being kept or ridden or driven in an area contrary to any bye laws made under section 47. 

Dublin City Council Bye-Laws

Control of Horses Bye-Laws

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Dublin City Council (DCC) Control of Horses Bye Laws 2010
Made under the Control of Horses Act 1996


Control of Horses Service Dublin City council provides a control of horses service in order to address the problems arising from practice of irresponsible horse ownership in the City area. Problems associated with keeping such horses in the city include neglect and cruelty suffered by horses, damage to public property including parks, sports pitches and grass verges, danger posed to public safety and general nuisance posed by presence of horses in public places.

    Seizure Of Horses

    Horses which have been seized for offences under the Control of Horses Act 1996 or Dublin City Council’s Control of Horses Bye laws 2010 are transported to the City Council’s officially designated pound. A detailed description of the horse is taken and it is also scanned for a microchip. The vet issues any treatment deemed necessary. If the horse does not have a microchip, one is inserted.

    Horse Reclaim Conditions

    Individuals, who want to reclaim their horse, must produce a horse passport and all the relevant documentation that is required before their horse will be released. Under Dublin City Council’s Control of Horses Bye Laws 2010 ‘The City Council may recover from the owner or the keeper of the horse all fees payable in respect of the horse, including fees for keep, veterinary fees and transportation fees incurred by the Council.’ Fees are based on the per horse cost to the City Council of providing the service annually and are reviewed on a yearly basis.

    The current cost of reclaiming a horse is €700 per horse plus an additional €20 per night per horse for horses held over and above the statutory 7 day period.

    Control of Horse Drawn Carriages

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    Smithfield Horse Fair Control Bye-Laws 2013
    Smithfield Horse Fair Casual Trading Licence Fee Bye-Laws 2013

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    Made under Section 6 of the Casual Trading Act 1995 and Section 199 of the Local Government Act 2001 and 
    came into effect on 15th February 2013

    The purpose of the new bye-laws is to ensure the orderly running and management of the horse fair at Smithfield, the safety of all persons attending and the welfare of animals.

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