A County Armagh farmer has offered a ‘substantial’ reward for information regarding an attack on his ‘defenceless’ deer at the weekend, writes Chris McCullough.
Kenny Gracey from Tandragee is well known for his continued work with rare breeds and also provides animals for film sets throughout Northern Ireland including the Game of Thrones.
When Mr Gracey arrived at the Northern Ireland Countrysports Fair in Scarva on Sunday morning to check his animals he was horrified to find someone had poured some kind of chemical on his beloved deer.
Mr Gracey had set up an exhibition of his own animals that are used in film sets at the weekend event held at Scarvagh House.
One of his animals, a three year old red doe deer called Yanna, was found with patches of its fur ripped off or indeed burned off.
The distraught owner also found a gate pinion had been removed and the gate was partially open proving someone had been in the animal's pen. His donkey called Joey was also in the pen with the deer but it was unharmed.
Kenny says a vet that checked the animal over thinks some kind of chemical was poured onto his deer. He has offered a substantial reward for information leading to those responsible being brought to justice.
Mr Gracey said: “I discovered the deer had been attacked when I went to check on the animals on Sunday morning around 7.30am.
“It seems someone had removed the gate pinion and had been in the pen with the animal. I don't know exactly what they did but the deer's hide is all patchy where fur has been removed.
“A vet checked Yanna over and thinks that some kind of chemical has been poured on her.
“I informed the animal welfare officer and the show authorities. There was security present on site overnight but someone, for whatever reason, has decided to attack my defenceless deer.
“I keep a number of animals that are used on a number of film sets and take some of them around various events to show the kids. This is the first time any of my animals have been attacked,” he said.
Mr Gracey is offering a 'substantial reward' for information about the attack.
He said: “If anyone can make me aware of exactly who did this there is a substantial reward waiting for them.
“I am in no doubt that this was a deliberate attack on a defenceless animal and whoever is responsible needs to be brought to justice.
“The hair will grow back in the affected areas but that is not the point. Some thug who thinks it is ok to attack an animal like this must be punished,” he added.
The Northern Ireland Countrysports Fair runs for two days and is organised by Countrysports Fairs based in Portadown.
Organiser Derek Lutton was of the opinion the donkey had decided to bite the deer resulting in the marks left.
Mr Lutton said: “People are making a mountain out of a molehill here. We think the donkey and the deer had a disagreement and the donkey bit the deer removing hair in the process. The vet checked the deer over and was quite happy.
“There was a pin missing from the bottom of the temporary pen the animals were in.”
However, Kenny refutes those claims and says Joey is very protective of Yanna and would never harm her.
“That's nonsense,” said Kenny. “The vet said he suspects some kind of chemical was poured over Yanna. Joey and Yanna spend all the shows together in the same pen. She is like a child to me.
“People have reported seeing some drunken youths near the show lying on the grass early on Sunday morning. My reward offer stands!”