Gardai launch investigation as one-year-old horse found beaten to death
Gardaí have launched an investigation after a horse was found beaten to death in Harmonstown, Co Dublin.
The body of a young horse was found in a council housing estate in the Raheny area on Friday evening, and the incident is believed to have occurred earlier in the day.
Martina Kenny, a volunteer with the equine charity My Lovely Horse Rescue, said they received reports about a dead horse via Facebook on Friday night and immediately called the police.
“A few people contacted us to say they had seen kids riding the horse until he was absolutely exhausted, and there was seemingly a bet over who could ride him into the ground first,” she told Independent.ie.
“When he went down they kicked him to death and kicked his teeth in.”
After contacting Raheny Garda station, the volunteers at My Lovely Horse Rescue posted a photo of the horse on Facebook, prompting a slew of private messages from young people living in the area.
Ms Kenny said the original owner, a young teenage boy, had contacted them and told them the horse was named Thunder.
“The horse was just a year old, so he shouldn’t even have been ridden in the first place.
"Their backs are so soft at that age and their poor legs are still growing so they can’t support weight. Riding will damage them for life, if they even make it to live,” she said.
Tiffany Quinn, another volunteer with the charity, added that it can be difficult to find out what happened in incidents of animal abuse because people living in the area are afraid to speak out.
“The details are hazy, but it’s important that people don’t get high and mighty about this and tar everybody that lives in a council estate with the same brush.
"It’s a minority that are treating the horses like this,” she said.
Ms Kenny described a number of recent incidents involving abused horses, including a foal in Clondalkin who died of exhaustion after being forcibly ridden and a horse they rescued in Ballyfermot three weeks ago.
“Amy was being punched in the face repeatedly by a group of kids. She’s only about two years of age but she looks about 20," Ms Kenny said of the horse, who is now recovering in the charity's rescue centre.
"She’ll never be able to be ridden, her back is wrecked and her legs are in bits, and her poor face is swollen from being punched. But at least she's safe now.”
Ms Kenny explained that My Love Horse Rescue is working to tackle the problem by advocating for local education programmes and legislative breeding control.
“Some of the kids can pick up a horse for the price of a packet of fags, and most of them aren’t educated about horses, so they don’t know what kind of care it needs,” she added.
Gardaí are appealing for witnesses or anyone with information to contact Raheny Garda Station on 01 6664300.