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Horse set on fire in Dublin is rehomed after year-long recovery from horrific burn injuries

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After a year of treatment and rehabilitation, Pilgrim is now well enough to be rehomed

After a year of treatment and rehabilitation, Pilgrim is now well enough to be rehomed

The horse, named Pilgrim, suffered serious burns to his face, neck and body last year

The horse, named Pilgrim, suffered serious burns to his face, neck and body last year

Pilgrim was nursed back to health after being rescued in this distressing state by the DSPCA

Pilgrim was nursed back to health after being rescued in this distressing state by the DSPCA

Pilgrim has now left the care of the DSPCA and will be rehomed in the UK

Pilgrim has now left the care of the DSPCA and will be rehomed in the UK

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After a year of treatment and rehabilitation, Pilgrim is now well enough to be rehomed

A horse that suffered horrific injuries when he was set on fire in Dublin is this week starting a new life in the UK after being nursed back to health by an animal welfare charity.

In one of the worst cases of animal cruelty they had ever encountered, DSPCA inspectors were shocked when they were notified of the brutal attack on the three-year-old horse in north Dublin during July last year.

Gardai investigating the case believed the horse may have been targeted as part of a feud between rival gangs. However, there was not enough evidence to pursue a prosecution.

The horse, named Pilgrim, was brought to the DSPCA with devastating injuries, including serious burns to his face, neck and body.

Claire Owens, the charity’s Equine Welfare and Rehoming Manager, described the injuries as “very serious”.

“There was a lot of swelling from the burns and he was in severe pain,” she said. “He went into complete shutdown from the trauma of it.”

Claire said that Pilgrim’s body condition was poor to begin with, even before he was set on fire. She paid tribute to UCD’s Equine Hospital for supporting the “big team effort” involved in the animal’s recovery and rehabilitation.

For the first few months, Pilgrim required regular veterinary treatment to fight infection from the burns. This was eventually scaled-back as it was causing him stress, according to Claire.

“We had to take it very, very slowly,” she said. “Once he was stable, it was case of balancing his stress against the need for treatment, but we constantly monitored him for signs of infection.”

Thanks to Claire’s day-to-day management and care, Pilgrim eventually started to make a slow but steady recovery.

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“It took nine months before I could tie him up for grooming as he had experienced a full body trauma,” she said. “It’s up there with some of the worst incidents of animal cruelty I’ve seen.

“Pilgrim loves people and that’s something that stayed with him throughout his treatment and rehabilitation. He likes being groomed and scratched and that’s how I built up trust with him.

“He still has some scars, but by the time he left us he had turned into a very happy, confident horse and his physical fitness was good.”

Pilgrim is now starting a new life abroad, where he will be rehomed under the supervision of welfare coordinators from the Blue Cross UK.

“It was very emotional to see him leave, but he was ready to move on and find a new home,” Claire said.

“I had put my heart and soul into his rehabilitation so it felt like a little bit of me went with him. It’s sad to see him go, even though I’m happy for him.”


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