An animal charity has slammed the level of cruelty in the country after a pony had to be destroyed due to what they believe were several savage beatings inflicted over several days and weeks.
Gardaí were called to an area in Fairhill, in the north of Cork city last night by a stranger alerting them to a horse which was in distressed.
When officers arrived to the isolated spot of rough ground they immediately contacted volunteers from My Lovely Horse based in Cobh, Co Cork.
Kelly Mellerick and another volunteer drove to the scene as quickly as they could at around 8pm where they were met by the officers and with veterinary surgeon, John Hyde.
They had to gain access to the area the horse was found through rough conditions with flash lights.
“What met us made me burst into tears. I had asked one of the officers at the scene who called asking for help did I need to bring horse box and he said no, so I knew it was bad," said Ms Mellerick.
"But I really didn’t expect to see a two-year-old horse as badly abused as this. She was lying down on really rough ground.
“I thought she was already dead when I knelt down beside her neck but she turned her head towards me trying to get up.
"I honestly don’t understand how she was able to do that even. No animal could have done that to themselves.
"She was savagely beaten at least once by an individual or individuals.
“Some of the wounds were so old too. I’m sure she had numerous broken bones and she was covered in bloody cuts.
"Every part of her was swollen. She had no body condition, no flesh to be exact. She was just bone and she was rotting.
“What we can’t figure out is that she was recently shod. The horse had a fresh pair of horse shoes on her.
The vet made the decision that the horse had to be destroyed to put her out of her misery as quickly as possible.
Gardaí have launched an investigation into who may have carried out the vicious attack.
Ms Mellerick added: “To be honest I’m just lost for words. I don’t know what is going on with people.
"They were brilliant and did everything they could to help.
“We and other animal charities, I’m sure, are finding them down lanes, gardens and ditches.
"I’m so worried and concerned at the levels of abuse that is being inflicted on these horses.
“Where has people’s respect and dignity gone. You wouldn’t do this to a human so why do it to a defenceless animal?
"She had an awful life by the looks of it.”
Cork Council officials removed the horse’s remains from the scene.
Gardaí are appealing for anyone with information to contact them at Gurranabraher Station in Cork on 021-4946200.