Wednesday 21 August 2019

Girl 'ecstatic' after 'irreplaceable' therapy pony found safe after being stolen

Cream the pony was reunited with her family today
Photo: Garda Traffic/Twitter
Cream the pony was reunited with her family today Photo: Garda Traffic/Twitter

Áine Kenny

A YOUNG girl is "ecstatic" after she was reunited with her stolen therapy pony after it was found by gardai.

'Cream' was found in north Cork city and was cared for by gardaí in Mayfield garda station until her owner, Clonmel man Anthony Fitzgerald, came to collect her this morning.

The eight year-old pony is used as a therapy pet for the owner's daughter. Mr Fitzgerald's daughter Erin has cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair, and Mr Fitzgerald said she would be delighted that Cream was safe.

Cream went missing last Saturday, June 29. It is believed she was taken from her field.

There was a widespread social media campaign to find the pony, and last night gardaí in Cork were successful with the search.

Speaking to the media when he was collecting the pony, Mr Fitzgerald said he was feeling "joy" at the return of Cream. "I'm an optimistic person at best, I was optimistic all along that we'd get a result."

Mr Fitzgerald said he received a phone call at 2am this morning confirming that Cream was safe and he was sent pictures to prove this.

"She couldn't be replaced. It's fantastic [she's back]."

He described the horse as a "fantastic animal" and explained how he had raised her from when she was a foal.

Mr Fitzgerald has three children, 13 year-old twin girls Anastacia and Erin and an 11 year old boy called Anthony. "Erin has cerebral palsy and is wheelchair-bound," Mr Fitzgerald explained.

He said he had left it as long as possible to tell her Cream was missing, and that she'd be "ecstatic" now she was back.

His other children were overjoyed and cheered when they saw pictures of Cream safe and sound, and Erin smiled at the photo.

Mr Fitzgerald said that Cream was different with Erin from the start, and according to him, when the pony goes over to Erin she has a calm demeanour and bends down to Erin's height.

Speaking to Independent.ie, Sergeant Mick O'Connell said he works in community policing so interacts with the public on a regular basis. The call was put out on social media and a member of the public responded.

"We got a phone call yesterday afternoon from someone who thought they had identified the location of the horse. So we sent out a garda and they discovered the horse in a location on the north side of Cork city." 

"The horse had to be walked back, about four and a half miles, because the man who usually picks up horses was [away]. We kept her here in Mayfield station overnight and gave her water."

Cream was apparently not perturbed by her overnight stay in the garda station, with Sgt O'Connell saying she was very relaxed.

Sgt O'Connell said he was glad that Cream was reunited with her owners. "The owner has a daughter with cerebral palsy, and the horse is very therapeutic for her, she relaxes her and rests her nose on her to calm her.

"The children had named her Cream. She was chipped but the family could recognise her from her markings, she has three white socks on her feet."

The sergeant also wanted to thank the public for their assitance. "Sometimes social media can be a negative thing, but this time it helped us to solve a case," he said.

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