The footage of an animal being dragged along the side of a road was widely circulated on social media last week.
The footage of an animal being dragged along the side of a road was widely circulated on social media last week, prompting gardaí to seize the donkey and a six other animals in Co Offaly.
The DSCPA has now said the “horrific” incident is evidence that people are not aware of the full extent of animal cruelty in Ireland.
“You’re looking at a poor animal who is clearly in distress. It’s clearly being dragged behind the car,” said Gillian Bird, Head of Education and Media at the DSPCA.
Speaking to Newstalk’s Breakfast Briefing this morning, she said: “It’s absolutely horrendous that somebody would do this.”
She added: “There is still a lack of education around the country as to what the public can do and what is right and wrong and what’s acceptable and what isn’t.”
“It’s difficult to educate adults, so what we do is we try and educate the children.
“And we’re hoping the children will then educate the adults.
“Obviously, by educating [them] you are educating future generations.”
Ms Bird said the fines for animal cruelty can amount to €250,000 and jail terms can “be anything from six months in prison up to five years in prison.”
“So, the penalties are there and if someone ends up with a conviction they can be banned from keeping animals for a lifetime.
“So, the legislation is there, the penalties are there. It’s really just the difficulties of actually getting someone in front of the judge.”
Gardaí are investigating the individuals involved in the video under the Animal Welfare Act, having already seized seven animals.
A spokesperson said gardaí were grateful for the assistance of animal charities The Donkey Sanctuary Ireland and Hungry Horse Outside in recovering the animals.
"We assure the public that they will be well cared for and kept safe,” the spokesperson said on Saturday.