Gardai and DSPCA conflicted over whether horse was dead or alive directly before 'depraved' attack
The DSPCA says it is adamant that a horse which was cruelly set on fire was “still alive” when it was doused in petrol.
However, gardai say they are satisfied that the horse was already dead.
A spokesperson for the animal charity told independent.ie that it has “no evidence” that the animal was dead before it was set on fire.
She said witnesses have told Dublin's Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals that a group of teenagers had poured a bottle of vodka down the mare's neck before she died.
The DSPCA hope to make a breakthrough next week and find the perpetrators of the attack. However, she said witnesses are too frightened to come forward.
A statement by the charity said: "The new information received today has revealed that the horse was a mare who had recently weaned a foal. She appeared to be sick prior to the incident, possibly suffering from mastitis."
"She was reportedly tied to a lamp post and was seen chocking on the rope before being removed shortly before her death."
"Another report tells of seeing a number of youths pouring a bottle of Vodka down the mare’s throat. Currently these reports are unverified but we will be following them up to complete the case file."
A Garda spokesperson told independent.ie tonight it has been established that the horse "was already dead prior to the carcass being burned".
Animal welfare officers branded it one of the worst scenes of "depraved cruelty" they had witnessed. Gardai increased patrols in the Killinarden area of Tallaght, Dublin after a number of violent incidents.
The horse was set on fire in the early hours of yesterday morning, and gardai believe three teenagers were involved in the attack.
Gardai worked with the DSPCA to remove five other horses from the green area where the horse was burnt alive.
Brian Gillen, the DSPCA's CEO, said the horrendous death the horse had endured was unimaginable.
"Whilst we encounter many horrific cruelty and neglect cases with regard to abandoned horses, we have never seen such levels of deliberate and depraved cruelty," he said.
Gardai have been dealing with a number of incidents in the Killinarden area in recent days.
These include a fight between schoolboys, aged around 13 and 14 years, in which a petrol bomb was thrown last Sunday morning.
Some boys suffered injuries during the altercations, and community gardai also spoke at schools in the area to ease tensions.