'Scum like this shouldn't have animals' - Woman claims group 'drowned' pony
WARNING: Distressing images of alleged animal cruelty
A young woman has told of her horror after she claimed she witnessed a group of people drown a young pony in a river.
Sinead Gibbons took to Facebook yesterday after witnessing the alleged incident in Kilkenny.
She told that she was walking in field when she witnessed the stricken animal: "This poor defenceless beautiful pony was put into the river, sat on by his so called owner, drowned and left there to die."
Ms Gibbons claimed a man was trying to pull the animal's head above water for 20 minutes before they arrived.
"As freezing cold as the water was, I hopped in and was able to get the poor baby's head above water. He was still alive at this stage but barely."
She explained that it took eight people to rescue the animal.
They made attempts to contact the Kilkenny Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (KSPCA) but there was nobody available to travel to the scene and referred her to An Garda Síochana.
Eventually a vet was sent to the scene but Ms Gibbons said the animal had died by that stage.
"People give out about having to buy a licence for your animals, well this is the reason why. Worst thing is these sub-human degenerate will get away with it. Thank you to all the passersby and the young fella who even crossed over the river to help.
"Scum like this shouldn't have animals full stop. If you're asking why he killed the horse - the poor pet had bite marks on his leg so I presume they thought he would turn lame.
"Those sick evil twisted [people] made me lose my hope of humanity, but those kind hearted people who helped us restored it."
Speaking to Independent.ie, Ms Gibbons said she didn't get a "good look" at the people involved, but said there was a big group of them.
"It was a horrible thing to witness, it was such a beautiful pony and it didn't deserve to die that way," she said.
Conor Dowling, Chief Inspector with the ISPCA, said they are aware of the case and they have launched an investigation.
"It's a pretty horrific story," he said. "We are in contact with KSPCA.
"They [KSPCA] are trying to get in contact with anyone who saw it directly to make a formal report of what they witnessed.
He added: "Drowing a horse would not be common. We do get horses that, by accident, get stuck in water. For an incident whereby somebody has allegedly drowned an animal, that would be unusual."
He said the picture is "reminiscent of horses getting stuck in water".
"But the account given is not usual. We want to look into that."
Asked why nobody from the KSPCA was avaialble to attend the scene, Mr Dowling said: "We would like to be able to say 'contact us 24/7 and we'll be there' but that is unfortunately not possible. We are a voluntary organisation."
Mr Dowling explained that if the perpetrators are identified then they will be charged.
Under the Animal Health and Welfare Act they could face a prison sentence of up to five years, a fine of up to €250,000 or both.
Gardai in Kilkenny said: "We received a report about the sudden death of a horse which was discovered at Ossory Bridge Kilkenny on 26th March 2017. Local County council was informed. There will be post mortem conducted which will determine the course of any investigation."
Anyone with information is asked to contact KSPCA on 056-7771635.