Almost 4,500 horses were seized by Gardai in 2014 and the Minister for Agriculture has allocated increased funding for 2015.

Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Simon Coveney recently about the total funds allocated for the control of horses, in 2013 and 2014 and the numbers of horses dealt with in each year.

The Minister said his Department provides funding under the Control of Horses Act, 1996 to assist local authorities with expenses incurred in dealing with stray and abandoned horses.

In 2014, some 4,464 horses were seized, he said and Department funding amounted to €2.3m.

In 2013, 4,727 horses were seized, while €3m was available in funding for urban horse projects and the control of the animals from his Department.

However, he said the figures for the 2014 horse seizures are based on the most up to date information provided by local authorities and the closing date for receipt of final claims from the local authorities is February 16, 2015.

He said it is not possible to estimate the expenditure that will incur in 2015; however a figure of €2.6m has been allocated by his Department for control of horses activities and urban horse projects.