Amazing Belfast Telegraph readers save pony Rusty from death row
Rusty the Shetland pony who featured in a Belfast Telegraph appeal just hours before euthanasia has been saved by the kindness of our readers.
Down on his luck Rusty had been living rough and faced imminent death after a court order issued in Limavady allowed Causeway Coast and Glens Council to put the animal down if a suitable home could not be found.
The sentence was due to be carried out today, but thanks to our appeal on his behalf, Rusty's future is now looking much more bright.
Among those who contacted the Belfast Telegraph offering a home for Rusty was Albert Morrow from Portadown, who runs a facility caring for rescued animals until they can be placed in a permanent home.
"The minute I saw Rusty in the paper, I thought he is just the boy for me," said Albert. "I took in a miniature pony a couple of weeks ago and he was just skin and bones, but already there has been a huge improvement in him, and a couple of donkeys that have come to us from Armagh are doing great now too."
Rusty's plight also melted the heart of Amy Storey, who said he is welcome to join her family of animals including two Clydesdale horses, two Shetland ponies, a donkey, a pot-bellied pig as well as other farmyard animals.
Calls came from across Northern Ireland, including from Cyril Forsythe, who knows well what is required to look after a rescue pony like Rusty.
"I rescued a Shetland pony 20 years ago that had been abandoned, tied up to a disused railway track and left," he said.
"He was in a bad way but we looked after him, called him Jack and he is like part of our family now. Rusty would be welcome to join us and even if him and Jack didn't get on, I have 16 acres so there's plenty of room for both."
All day the calls came from Antrim, Down, Armagh, Londonderry and even one from Donegal. All details will now be passed on to the council.
It will then check out the most suitable home for Rusty, but no matter where he is eventually relocated, we now know that it will be a lot more pleasant than on death row.