Belfast Telegraph

Horrific chemical attack on Game of Thrones man's deer in Armagh

By Chris McCullough

An horrific scene met a Co Armagh farmer when he went to check on his animals yesterday morning at the Northern Ireland Countrysports Fair in Scarva.

The event, held at Scarvagh House, ran over the weekend. Tandragee farmer Kenny Gracey had set up an exhibition of his animals, which are used on film sets such as Game of Thrones.

Mr Gracey arrived at 7.30am on Sunday to check his animals before the event reopened and was shocked by what he found.

One of his animals, his beloved three-year-old red doe deer, Yanna, had patches of fur missing from her hide.

The distraught owner found a gate pinion had been removed and the gate was partially open, proving that someone had been in the animal's pen. His donkey Joey was in the pen with the deer, but was unharmed.

Mr Gracey said that a vet who checked the animal over thinks that some kind of chemical had been poured over the deer's hide.

He has offered a 'substantial reward' for information leading to those responsible for the attack being brought to justice.

Mr Gracey said: "It seems someone had removed the gate pinion and had been in the pen with the animals.

"I don't know exactly what they did, but the deer's hide is all patchy where fur has been removed.

"A vet checked Yanna over and thinks that some kind of chemical has been poured on her.

"I informed the animal welfare officer and the show authorities.

"There was security present on the site overnight but someone, for whatever reason, has decided to attack my defenceless deer.

"I keep a number of animals that are used on film sets and take some of them around events to show the kids.

"This is the first time any of my animals have been attacked," he said.

Mr Gracey is offering a reward for information about the attack. He said: "If anyone can make me aware of exactly who did this, there is a substantial reward waiting for them.

"I am in no doubt that this was a deliberate attack on a defenceless animal and whoever is responsible needs to be brought to justice. The hair will grow back in the affected areas, but that is not the point.

"Some thug who thinks it is okay to attack an animal like this must be punished," he added.

The Northern Ireland Countrysports Fair is organised by Countrysports Fairs, based in Portadown.

Organiser Derek Lutton said: "People are making a mountain out of a molehill here. We think the donkey and the deer had a disagreement and the donkey bit the deer, removing hair in the process. The vet checked the deer over and was quite happy.

"There was a pin missing from the bottom of the temporary pen the animals were in."

However, Mr Gracey refutes those claims and says Joey is very protective of Yanna and would never harm her. "That's nonsense," said Mr Gracey. "The vet said he suspects some kind of chemical was poured over Yanna. She and Joey spend all the shows together in the same pen. She is like a child to me.

"People have reported seeing some drunken youths near the show lying on the grass early on Sunday morning. My reward offer stands," he stressed. 

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