Thieves steal horses from sanctuary
THIEVES are targeting an animal sanctuary in the west which has successfully brought abandoned horses back to full health.
Four horses, including a mare and her foal, have been taken in a number of carefully planned raids at the Avalon sanctuary in Woodford, Co Galway.
"It's terrible; the horses had all been abandoned and were in very poor health when we first got them, but we had them treated by the vet and they were all the picture of health before they were taken," said the sanctuary manager Noreen Conroy.
Sanctuary staff believe the horses were stolen for breeding and that they will be turned loose once they have served their purpose.
"The people responsible for this were obviously watching the sanctuary as they came at night and a time when there was a coffee break. They broke the locks and took the horses.
"We reported the thefts to the gardai, but we are particularly anxious to get the horses back -- they are all micro-chipped . . . They are all vulnerable animals," Noreen said.
Avalon is part of a voluntary German animal welfare organisation which works closely with the Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and a number of local authorities.
The sanctuary cares for 80 horses, 77 dogs and 40 goats -- all in very poor condition before they were taken in by the sanctuary.
Most of the animals had been abandoned across the west and mid-west.
The sanctuary said it would be taking additional safety measures to deter any further thefts.
"We are appealing to anyone out there who might have suspicions about our missing horses to contact us at 090 974 9262," Noreen said.