Horse rescued as word spreads on social media


SOCIAL MEDIA came in handy when dozens of people answered a distress call to save a terrified horse from drowning in a muddy river.

The horse was found stuck up to its chest in muck in the river Swilly in Letterkenny, Co Donegal.

A passing taxi driver noticed the frightened animal and immediately called Donegal Pet Rescue.

The group contacted gardaí but the officers were called to another incident.

Donegal Pet Rescue decided to issue a call on social media for help to save the horse.

They were swamped with offers of assistance and ideas to free the horse.

A rope was tied around the animal and straps were fitted in an attempt to pull the horse to safety.

However, as the horse struggled it sank into the mud and at one stage only its head and back could be seen. Volunteers then used spades and other tools to dig around the animal.

During the rescue effort, volunteers became stuck and also had to be released.

What followed was a four-hour haul involving relays of people to drag the horse from the muddy mire inch by inch.

Ryan McCauley of Donegal Pet Rescue said it was amazing to watch the spirit of people coming together in an attempt to rescue the animal.

“It was incredible to watch people just come out of nowhere to help . . . There were estate agents, builders and students standing side by side,” he said.

“It was great to see that money wasn’t the reason why people came out, which makes a change in the current climate.”

The exhausted horse was eventually pulled to safety. However, it looked for a while as if the rescuers’ effort had been in vain.

The local vet from the Animal Health Centre in Ramelton, Anja Froehlich, then gave the horse injections to protect it against infections and stabilise its temperature as she treated it for pain.

The animal lay on the ground for more than 20 minutes after its ordeal.

The volunteers finally got the horse on to its feet and washed it down. They then moved it into a horse trailer and brought it to a stable.

“These people put their own safety to one side to rescue this poor animal,” Mr McCauley said. “It was heartwarming to see and everyone felt so good after we had rescued the horse.”