A man has sued Galway County Council over the alleged wrongful seizure and subsequent slaughter of a thoroughbred horse.

Edward McDonagh, of Bóthar an Coiste, Headford Road,  Galway, says he owned the stallion called Chief of Colours which was seized by the local authority in February 2018.

The Irish Times reports that in judicial review proceedings, Mr McDonagh claims the council acted outside its powers when it refused his request to release the horse and euthanised the animal as a manner of enforcing a debt about which he claims there was a genuine dispute.

He alleges the council’s policy of detaining and disposing of horses where fees have not been paid, and failures to give him information legitimately requested by him and to engage with him, did not respect his constitutional rights to fair procedure.

He wants declarations to that effect and also seeks damages for the alleged wrongful and unlawful slaughtering of his horse.


The claims are denied and the council says its decision to detain, withhold and dispose of the horse was valid and done in accordance with law.

The county council claimed that - despite being given plenty of opportunities to do so - Mr McDonagh had failed to produce valid information that would have identified him as the owner of the horse, and said Mr McDonagh did not hold a valid passport for the horse.

The council also denied the horse was wrongly and disproportionately withheld because the fees were not paid.

The horse was seized after it was found wandering on a public road, causing a hazard to motorists and was not taken from private property, the council said.

Mr Justice Garrett Simons said he would give judgment in the matter after Easter.



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