Belfast Telegraph

Man is bailed after horrific discovery of horse cruelty

By Amanda Poole

A man has told of the horrific scenes of animal cruelty he witnessed in a field in Co Antrim.

On Monday, a dead horse was discovered in a field at Millbank Road in Ballyclare.

A police spokesman said it was found along with six other live animals — one of which was in such a poor condition it had to be put down.

A source who attended the scene told the Belfast Telegraph the horses were “undernourished, dehydrated and very scared of people”.

“One horse was alive, but unable to move, so a vet had to shoot it to put it out of its misery,” he said.

“It was pitiful sight. The horse was surrounded by its own faeces and while it was dying it seems crows or foxes had got to it.

“There was a trench at its hooves where it had been clawing at the soil in agony.

“There was also a skeleton in one corner of a field and a pile of foal skeletons discovered too, including tiny newborn hooves.”

A 43-year-old man was arrested after the authorities were called to the scene.

He is suspected of cruelty to animals and failing to exercise care and supervision to prevent animals suffering unnecessarily. The man has since been freed on bail, but will be questioned further by the PSNI at a later date.

Last night, David Wilson, from the Ulster Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, said this type of incident needs an immediate response.

The USPCA spokesman said that from April 2, cases involving horses will be dealt with by local councils, under the Welfare of Animals Act 2011.

“This case should be prosecuted and if found guilty, there are penalties available including a custodial sentence,” Mr Wilson added.

“The Department of Agriculture and Rural Development considers horses to be companion animals, like dogs and cats, so from next month incidents such as this will be policed by local authorities.”

The 26 councils in Northern Ireland have had 12 months to prepare for their enforcement role, which will be carried out by five inspectors.

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