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Gardaí launch investigation after horse injured in sulky crash in Limerick

The horse was discovered in a ditch shortly afterwards.

Image: Sam Boal via RollingNews.ie

Clarification 19 March, 3.15pm: Gardaí had initially said the horse died but have now clarified that it is alive – and had been found in a collapsed and injured state. TheJournal.ie has updated the article to reflect this clarification. 

GARDAÍ HAVE APPEALED for witnesses and particularly motorists with dash cams as they investigate a road traffic collision and the injury of a horse following an illegal sulky race in Limerick.

The incident occurred on St Patrick’s Day around 2.20pm, outside Rathkeale, gardaí said.

A horse which was being raced at the time is believed to have collapsed from exhaustion after those racing the animal collided with two parked cars.

The horse was discovered in a ditch shortly afterwards. 

According to a source, there were “about 50” persons involved in the race, between those participating and those in attendance.

“Gardaí in Newcastle West are appealing for witnesses following a road traffic collision on the N21 at Coolanoran, Rathkeale, Co. Limerick on 17 March 2020,” said a garda spokesman.

“At approximately 2.20pm, two parked vehicles were damaged and a horse was abandoned at the scene and was given medical treatment by a local animal welfare group. The collision occurred whilst there was an illegal sulky race taking place on the N21.”

The spokesman added: “Gardaí are appealing for any witnesses to the incident, particularly road users with video footage, to contact Newcastle West Garda Station on 069 20048, the Garda Confidential Line on 1800-666-111 or any Garda Station.”

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Limerick Animal Welfare said they received a “heartbreaking call” at 7.30am yesterday, from a couple who discovered a “young horse tied to a tree, hidden away from view” and struggling to breathe.

“There was absolutely nothing for him to eat or drink. His thin, wet body could take no more,” they said.

“He had collapsed and did not have the strength to get up. Our volunteer rushed to rescue him. We have aptly named him Patrick and hope he survives his harrowing start in life,” they added.

A number of volunteers eventually managed to raise the horse and assist it to safety.

Limerick Animal Welfare said it had received over €2,500 in donations to pay for medical treatment for the horse.

“This is the second pony found in a collapsed and neglected estate in the last few days. Why are people not held to account for this, it make me so angry,” said a concerned citizen.

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David Raleigh

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