*WARNING - Readers may find the story and images distressing*
A MINIATURE PONY has been rescued by an animal charity after it was found tied to a gate near a housing estate in Co. Cork on Wednesday afternoon.
The pony, which was suspected as being used as dog-bait, is reportedly fighting for its life.
It was spotted by a member of the public who contacted the animal charity My Lovely Horse Rescue. Gardai in Cork were also notified, as were the Department of Agriculture.
It’s suspected that the abuse of the pony had been going on for some time, and that if it had continued, the pony would have died over the next few days.
There are even reports that the pony’s wounds had begun to rot, in places.
Volunteers at My Lovely Horse Rescue described it as one of the worst cases of sustained abuse they’ve ever dealt with.
Kelly Mellerick, who works with the charity said: “The abuse of the little [pony], whom we’ve named Mikey has been taking place over a long period of time.
“We believe that if he hadn’t have been found by the member of the public when he was he would be dead in a day or two.
“He was actually starting to rot and the smell from him was horrific.
“It is suspected that he might have been used as dog bait as he has so many old and new bites, cuts and bruises to him. There are also numerous rope burns to his neck.
“There is so much infection, and build-up of puss around his neck that he’s struggling to breathe.
“We just have to question how people can do such acts to a defenceless little animal like this. He’s only about 36 inches in height. He’s doing his best to live and he has eaten a little but the next few days are critical.
“His mouth is in an horrendous state so we are finding it difficult to put an exact age on him. We think the most he is, is five-year-old.
“Even the vets which help us … are so appalled by the level of abuse. They have been and are doing wonderful work with him.
“If he is able to recover it will be a long road for him.
“He’s a brave little boy, we promise to do everything in our power to give him a life worth living.”
A GoFundMe page has been set up in order to try and raise donations for My Lovely Horse so they can treat Mikey as best they can.