Belfast Telegraph

Ponies left to starve at roadside could die

By Brendan McDaid

The PSNI has been unable to identify the owners of the two ponies and a foal, which were found wandering along Ballyarnett Road in the Greater Shantallow area of the city last week.

Police revealed yesterday that they had seized the animals at the scene following reports from concerned residents that an accident could occur on the 40mph stretch of the cross-border route.

The animals were rescued by police from the Foyle City North Neighbourhood Team just days after Derry City Council discussed the danger posed by horses wandering in the area.

Up to a dozen horses and ponies with no established owner have been roaming wild in the council-owned Ballyarnett Country Park over recent months.

Neighbourhood PSNI officer, Constable Paddy Buckley, said: “We were responding to concerns from the local community in that area as loose animals have the potential to cause collisions.

“When we found the ponies they were in an appalling state and quite obviously needed veterinary care.

“We liaised with our colleagues in the USPCA and the animals have now been taken away for treatment.”

The animals were yesterday being cared for at an undisclosed USPCA shelter in a different county.

A spokesman for the USPCA said it was not yet clear whether the two older ponies would pull through.

He said: “When the animals arrived they were blanketed and when the blankets were taken off it was obvious they were in a pretty poor condition.

“One of them has a severe gash in the lower part of its body.

“They are receiving treatment at the minute but it is uncertain whether they will recover.

“If we can get them back to good health they could be rehomed.”

The spokesman said that horses and ponies let loose to roam posed particular dangers. “We have had four or five killed in Newry on the bypass last autumn,” he said.

“Luckily no-one was killed, although one man sustained a broken arm.”

He added that whoever owned the animals should face prosecution if they can be identified.

“They were owned by somebody and people turfed them out to fend for themselves.

“When that happens they are a danger on the roads and a danger to themselves, as evidenced by their state.

“It is behaviour that should be prosecuted.

“But police have to find the owner to hang responsibility around their necks before that can happen.”

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