The ISPCA has called on the agriculture minister to introduce tougher penalties for animal cruelty after a shocking video showed a donkey tied to a car being dragged by its legs along the side of the road.
The incident happened in Offaly on Friday and disturbing footage has emerged on social media.
It shows the animal, which was tied by its head with a rope to the back of a silver car, being pulled from the edge of a meadow that is partially covered in frost.
Gardaí are currently investigating an incident under the Animal Health and Welfare Act.
In an online post on Saturday, Gardaí said they had seized seven animals as part of an ongoing investigation in CO Offaly.
A spokesman said the Gardaí were “grateful” for the assistance of The Donkey Sanctuary Ireland and Hungry Horse Outside animal charity in recovering these animals.
“We assure the public that they will be well looked after and kept safe,” the spokesperson said.
A spokesman for the ISPCA said it was liaising with Gardaí and investigating the incident as “a matter of urgency”.
The charity called on Agriculture Minister Charlie McConalogue to increase funding for animal welfare efforts.
“The ISPCA is aware of an incident in Offaly in which a donkey was tied to a car and disturbing video of the incident is in the media and on social media,” the spokesperson said.
“The ISPCA Inspectorate will liaise with our Garda colleagues, and we will investigate this urgently and encourage anyone with further information to contact the Gardai or themselves.
“It is shocking and deeply disappointing that such instances of animal cruelty are prevalent in our society, we call on the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Marine and the Department to impose tougher penalties and increase funding for enforcement of animal welfare laws. Enable proactive prosecution of such incidents.
“The role of the ISPCA is to prevent and prosecute animal cruelty and to protect animals who deserve to be treated with love and kindness.
“It should be one of the most fundamental elements of our society and it is something we should be actively promoting while making sure we are well prepared to take action when someone is cruel to an animal “
The Donkey Sanctuary Ireland shared a statement online on Saturday regarding the incident.
“For anyone concerned about a donkey being pulled over by a car in the video shared yesterday afternoon, we can confirm that we have assisted in the impoundment of this animal and 6 others,” it said.
The My Lovely Horse rescue charity first shared the footage on Twitter on Friday.
The charity also confirmed that one of its volunteers witnessed the incident and made an official statement to Gardai.
“Shocking and disturbing, Edenderry. Poor helpless ass. Garda Commissioner Drew Harris, we want justice for our animals… we will not let this go,” wrote a spokesperson for the charity.