A NUMBER of horses, ponies and other animals have been abandoned and left to fend for themselves following severe flooding which has affected several counties.
Rescue charity My Lovely Horse Rescue urged its followers to keep an eye out for horses in flooded fields, saying "so many are left right now with no one checking on them, they are prisoners in fields that are flooding and they have no way out. Freezing, hungry and in danger."
Unfortunately, it seems that many people did not heed that warning, as cases of animals abandoned in flood-hit areas have been reported in numerous locations.
In Limerick, the rescue was collaborating with Gardaí to monitor a horse which was left by a river which had burst its banks.
As the horse was on private land, rescuers were unable to do anything until it became clear the horse's life was immediate danger, but thankfully the pony was later rescued.
In Balindooley, Galway, a horse was left to fend for itself for hours in a completely flooded field, with a photograph of the animal sparking outrage as it spread across social media.
Incredibly, the horse was eventually saved with the help of two locals who had been following the story on Facebook, and who entered the field late at night to secure the horse and bring him to high ground with plenty of shelter.
Also in Galway, local Councillor James Charity got involved with several horse rescues by Gardaí and the Fire Brigade, documenting the abandonment, neglect and subsequent rescue of the animals.
Just one day after the Ballindooley rescue, five horses were found abandoned in an area where the Clare River had burst its banks, and it took several experienced fire fighters to bring the animals to safety.
Councillor Charity congratulated and thanked the fire service for their actions while condemning the former owners of the horses, saying "[the fire brigade are] putting their own lives on the line continuously to deal with situations in this area where the owners are putting them at risk as well as the animals. This has to stop."
He later shared several photographs on Twitter illustrating the extent of the devastated flooding, along with a picture showing several horses abandoned on an island created by the floods.
Huge effort again this morning by Brenda Bradley Walsh, Peter Corcoran, Feargal O'Dochartaigh and Sharon Forde in getting these horses safe, while Jonathan Hickey also attended with me on a few occasions through the day to see how they are getting on in difficult conditions. pic.twitter.com/oAjPcokWbE
— Cllr James Charity (@jamescharity14) February 23, 2020