A walker who was passing along the Grand Canal in West Dublin on Saturday night spotted a lone pony in among the trees, acting very distressed and in obvious need of help.
The man quickly rang My Lovely Horse Rescue (MLHR), and volunteers from the organisation headed out to try and locate the animal.
Darkness quickly set in and the search failed, but in the early hours of Sunday morning two volunteers, assisted by police, were able to find the poor pony with her head drooped “heartbreakingly low” and her body in a “horrendous condition”, as reported by Dublin Live.
The battered and bruised pony, named by staff as Jenna, was taken in by the charity with “lumps all over her body” and a badly swollen face.
“She was weak, really really weak,” said Martina Kenny, co-founder of MLHR. “Her head was low.
“We didn’t think it at first but she had been beaten badly. When we got back to the van we had the vet waiting for her and he said she’s been beaten really badly, and from a couple of the cuts that she did have, she could have septicemia.”
Jenna was put on a drip, as well as being given antibiotics and painkillers, while volunteers pooled together to provide round-the-clock care in hour-long night shifts.
At 1am, she began struggling to breathe and lay down, having previously paced around agitated and in pain.
“She laid down and rested, and we had a massive bed of straw for her so her poor head could be comfy, and she, basically, just died right there in front of us,” Marina said.
“We called the vet, but by the time he got there she had died already. She died very peacefully.
“She was only about three years old, and she shouldn’t have died.”
When MLHR posted about the tragic outcome on Monday, witnesses said they had seen what had happened to her.
One person, who called police when she saw the horrific abuse, said a young child had been on her back riding her and treating her “very aggressively”.
Martina said they described the scene, saying: “A bigger kid, about 15 or 16, came over with some object in his hand, and saw quite clearly her being beaten on the back and on the side.”
The vet who helped in the effort to try and care for Jenna said her injuries were also consistent with being trampled.
Martina is now calling for the “horrible group” who took part in the sickening attack to be brought to justice.
“She has been living in Clondalkin, and we know it,” she said.
“Two people have seen her being bashed, and others have been in touch to say she was in Clondalkin.
“There wouldn’t be many around that look like her.
“If you’re going to have a horse, look after it. If you can’t look after it, call us. We say it every time. We’re always helping if needed.
“We don’t want anyone leaving an animal to suffer, but this time it wasn’t that.
“There was a horrible group of people bashing that animal, and they should be held accountable.”
Click here to visit the My Lovely Horse Rescue website and donate to the charity.