The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine has today (Sunday, January 22) been urged to introduce “tougher penalties” for enforcement of animal welfare laws after a video on social media showed a donkey tied to and pulled along by a car on a road.

The charity, My Lovely Horse Rescue, said on its Facebook page that one of its fosterers witnessed a donkey that was tied with a rope to a car while the car was being driven on a road in Co. Offaly.

Gardaí have confirmed they are aware of a video on social media involving an animal in Edenderry, Co. Offaly.

“While we do not comment on its contents, An Garda Síochána are currently investigating an incident under the Animal Health and Welfare Act.

“The animal has been checked over by Gardaí and is being recovered with their assistance,” a spokesperson said.

The My Lovely Horse Rescue charity had asked for the donkey to be “seized immediately” and described the incident as “absolute cruelty, right in front of other cars”.

Disturbing video of donkey

Meanwhile, the Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ISPCA) said it also was aware of the “disturbing video” of the incident and was liaising with the Gardaí and pledged to investigate it as “a matter of urgency”.

“It is shocking and deeply disappointing that such examples of animal cruelty are all too prevalent in our society.

“We call on the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine and the department to introduce tougher penalties and increased funding for enforcement of animal welfare laws to enable the active prosecution of such incidents,” the ISPCA said today.

The organisation said it was its role to “prevent and prosecute animal cruelty and protect animals who deserve to be treated with love and kindness”.

An Garda Síochána has stressed that it takes “all matters of animal welfare and the criminality linked to it very seriously”.

“We ask that any incident is reported to a local Garda station where a complaint will be logged and fully investigated,” a spokesperson added.