Gardai are investigating the discovery of severely injured horse in a field in Ballymoyle woodland near Kilpatrick in Wicklow.
The horse was found by a walker shortly after 3pm on Sunday and was reported to the local Gardai and Wicklow Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. An inspector from the WSPCA spent two days looking through the woodland for the horse before finding it still alive on Wednesday. The young cob's injuries were too serious and it was put to sleep the following day.
The wound looked like a previous injury that was not treated and left to become infected, according to a spokeswoman for the WSPCA.
"The horse was found off the beaten track and was in a very poor condition. It couldn't move by itself and the bone was visible through its leg," she said.
"It's possible that it could have been a previous owner that left it there."
A similar case has since been reported to the society this morning. Other callers have reported seeing at least four other horses in the large Coillte wood. It's an "ongoing crisis" according to the spokeswoman.
"It's a seasonal thing. People leave them in the wood when there's a lack of food and foliage. They might leave them there until Spring when their grass grows back.
"We often get horses left at our premises [to be put down]. It costs €150 to send them to a knackery so we end up doing it. It's a solution to a terrible problem."
She added that 63 horses were taken from one site alone in Wiclow town just before Christmas due to unsuitable land by other bodies. Nobody made themselves known as the horses' owner so they were all put down. She advised horse owners not to just abandon animals that are seriously injured.
"If people are in trouble with horse welfare, dumping isn’t the solution. Seek help for your animal and take them to your local society [for the prevention of cruelty to animals]."