Belfast Telegraph

Mother's horror as daughter's pony 'killed by accident by man shooting foxes' in Coleraine

By Claire Williamson

A woman has told of her horror after her ten-year-old daughter's pet pony was "shot and killed by accident" just yards from their Coleraine home.

The incident happened in Coleraine on Sunday.

The woman, identified as Rhonda, said she and her family had gone to Dublin for the day leaving her 19-year-old daughter at home looking after the animals.

Her daughter thought the pony was sleeping in the field until a man came to the door and told her there had been an "accident".

She told the BBC Nolan Show: "Apparently they were hunting foxes in the area and either it was mistaken for a fox or shot for sport.

"My family and I, we left at 5am on Sunday to head to Dublin for the day and my 19-year-old daughter was here and she was seeing to the animals and thought the pony was sleeping in the field.

"Then a gentleman arrived at the door to say there had been an accident and he had been shooting foxes and had shot the horse dead.

"They are all absolutely devastated. I have had a week of tears."

Rhonda said the police are investigating.

She added: "The pony was 30 yards from my front door and no-one has permission to shoot on any of the land in this area."

David Wilson from the USPCA said: "Foxes are regarded under law here as vermin same as rabbit, rats. So it's not illegal to kill them but it's illegal to kill them cruelly - you can't persecute the creature you can shoot it.  We would disagree with the law as it stands, I'm not advocating it - but that's the facts."

It comes after the USPCA offered a £500 reward for information leading to a conviction about a drowned dog in Co Down.

The animal protection group released an image of the animal with a brick tied to its leg.

In a statement, it said that the body of a terrier type dog was removed by its staff from Newry Canal close to Damolly.

"The unfortunate animal was deliberately weighted down presumably to ensure it would not survive," a spokesperson for the USPCA said.

Despite a requirement for dogs in Northern Ireland to be microchipped, this animal had not received one.

Anyone with any information about who the dog's owner was or who was responsible for its death is being asked to contact the USPCA, which has said it will ensure the correct enforcement agencies are contacted.

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