ANIMAL welfare group, My Lovely Horse Rescue Cork, has spoken out against the escalated levels of animal cruelty in Cork City over the past few months after another pony was rescued by the organisation at the weekend.
Speaking to The Echo, volunteer Kelly Mellerick, who has been involved with rescuing equines for the past eight years has said that the last few months have been the worst she has ever experienced.
"It's been one of the worst winters I can recall," she said.
The latest incident Kelly and her co-volunteers attended was in Ballyvolane on Sunday when they were contacted by Gardaí at Gurranabraher, alerting them to a very unwell pony on the green near Glen Heights.
Despite the current health warnings, volunteers quickly made their way to the scene of the distressed animal.
"We didn't even give it a second thought, we just dropped everything and made our way there," Kelly said.
The pony was found in a bad condition but with the help of a vet that was called to the site, the volunteers managed to get him into a horsebox and transport him to the Cork HQ in Cobh.
"It was obvious that some hours before, the pony was brought to the green to be left to die there," Kelly said.
Whilst speaking to The Echo, Kelly was waiting on the vet to visit as the animal's condition had deteriorated.
"I think his back is injured badly, and unfortunately, he will probably have to be put down.
"It's something we did think when we found him initially, but there were children around on Sunday, which is why we didn't take the decision to put him down on site," she explained.
Last month, in response to the escalated cases of animal neglect, Independent councillor Ken O'Flynn called for horse exclusion zones to be established.
"The plan should start off with a list of areas that have proven to be problematic for the Gardaí in terms of animal cruelty and sulky racing," he said.
Kelly believes if implemented, the plan would have to be "executed right".
"My fear is that if exclusion zones were introduced, it would drive urban horses out and put them who knows where.
"It's something that would have to be carefully thought through," she said.
My Lovely Horse Rescue currently has a GoFundMe page to help with the extensive veterinary bills they are accruing.