Activists accused of 'stealing' horse they rescued from drowning

Eamon Dillon with the rescued horse
Eamon Dillon with the rescued horse

ANIMAL welfare activists have been accused of “stealing” a horse they rescued from drowning in an industrial pond.

Now they fear they will have to hand back the imported horse after they helped save it from a watery death.

Workers at a Bord na Móna factory in Co. Tipperary raised the alarm after the mare was found struggling to stay alive in a ‘silt pit’ last week.

The animal had wandered into the deep water pond and had been unable to get back out again.

“I received a phone call from the Bord na Móna Littleton Briquette Factory to know if I could help with a badly injured mare that workers had saved from drowning in the silt pit,” said the rescuer.

“The mare in question had been in this pit all weekend and she was almost dead. They eventually got her out and believed that she had followed a foal in,” she claimed.

Rescuers said that a vet then scanned the animal for a microchip and discovered one that did not originate in this country.

They said that the animal appeared to be thin and had a number of cuts on its legs as well as some old scarring. They  feared it had suffered neglect.


The freeze-branding mark on the horse’s neck indicated it was a U.S.-bred animal and it was discovered she had been imported into Ireland and then sold on to owners in the U.K.

The animal activists have asked not to be named because they are currently holding rescued animals from other areas and fear they could be snatched back.

Kevin McCarthy, who has claimed the animal is his, said that the horse had recently been imported into Ireland and he was still waiting for the paperwork to come through.

He told the Sunday World that the horse was in a field of 20 acres with “plenty to eat”, but may have been “a bit thin” after the travel and change of surroundings.

“All the horses are well looked after – we don’t neglect horses,” he said.

“She was in 20 acres of grass, there’s other horses in there and there’s a shine off them. I’m not hiding or ducking and diving or anything,” he said, adding that records from the Standardbred and Trotting Horse Association of Great Britain back up his account.

This week, his father Peter McCarthy, who lives nearby, told the Sunday World that the horse arrived in Ireland on May 27 and they wanted it back.

He denied that they had anything to do with ill-treating horses and pointed to several other horses on Bord na Móna land which he said were his and showed no signs of neglect.

“We do everything legal with our horses. Horses, kids and grandkids, that’s my life,” he said.

“Ninety per cent of travellers think more of their horses than they do of themselves. They’d feed the horses before themselves, but you have 10 per cent who aren’t like that.”