A horse was left to die in a bog-hole outside Castlebar and is only alive today after an alert female walker spotted his head bobbing above the water this Sunday.
The horse appeared to have been dumped at Ross, outside Castlebar, according to North-West SPCA spokesman Gerry Ginty and he told The Mayo News that were it not for the actions of the walker and Garda Tina Donagher, the horse would certainly have met its end.
“By the time this lady saw the horse, he was submerged up high on his neck and had it been an hour later, I don’t think there’s any way the horse could have survived.
“I’d be fairly sure the horse was dumped there. It was a dead-end bog road and it was a chance in a million that the horse was spotted by this lady out walking her dog. She called the Gardaí and Garda Tina Donagher called us when she got to the scene,” he said.
Three SPCA volunteers travelled down from Ballina to rescue the horse. Local men Hugh Ginty and Noel Rabbitte and Latvian native Yanis Zieghta travelled down to pull the horse out.
Gerry Ginty said that they were physically putting their own lives in danger to save the horse’s life because one roll from the horse could have been fatal. Eventually they pulled the horse out with slings, with Garda Donagher assisting.
Gerry Ginty arrived with a horsebox to transport the horse to the North West SPCA’s animal refuge in Cooneal, outside Ballina where the horse is recovering this week and will be removed, Noel Rabbitte confirmed to The Mayo News.
Gerry Ginty was full of praise for Garda Donagher who stayed at the scene until the end, even though her shift ended long before that. It was quite an operation to get the horse out, he added.
“You should have seen the state of the three lads when they were finished, they were covered in bog dirt and water from head to toe. They had to go down into the hole and put a sling around the horse’s body to take him out of the hole. It was very dangerous what they had to do. When the horse got out then, he couldn’t stand up because his legs had seized up so the lads had to massage the legs to get the circulation going again.
“Unfortunately this type of thing is happening all too often now with horses. They have very little commercial value now and that’s the way a lot of people think and so they are just dumped. It is very sad.
“The government have legislation there to take charge of this issue but they have refused to do so and it is left to volunteers like ourselves to pick up the slack. Only last week we took into refuge 18 horses who would have had to be put down otherwise,” said Mr Ginty who is a prominent member of Ballina Town Council and Mayo County Council. He has had a lifelong commitment to animal welfare.
He added that the work that volunteer Noel Rabbitte does for animal welfare is ‘remarkable’.
Mr Rabbitte himself said that for every horse like this they save, umpteen more die as people continue to breed horses despite finding it difficult to afford to feed them in winter time.
The horse was christened Tina whilst in the hole by Hugh Ginty but when it emerged that the horse was male, Tina wasn’t too suitable. Noel Rabbitte said he’ll leave it up to the horse’s new owner to name him.