Harvey is the name given to a young pony (between 1 1/2 and 2 years old) who was seized by the Garda with assistance from MLHR from the side from the Grand Canal at Bluebell on 28th June 2018 (view press release).
Harvey's rescue follows on from an initial call to MLHR from a member of the public late in May, who saw a young pony on along the banks of the Grand Canal at Bluebell with serious wounds on each of his legs and on his head and wearing a rug in very warm weather. As the authority responsible for enforcing the Animal Health and Welfare Act 2013, the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) was contacted and an inspector sent out the next day to review Harvey's condition. The pony was not seized on this occasion, however.
A week later, Harvey was seen again on the side of the Grand Canal, this time by an MLHR volunteer who observed he was still in poor health and his condition had not improved. The pony still had open wounds on his legs and there was no sign of wounds being treated. Gardaí at Kilmainham were notified that evening and Gardaí contacted the DCC horse pound contractor. However, Harvey was observed again by members of the public towards the end of June being ridden roughly by a group of teenage boys. On 28th June, an MLHR volunteer observed Harvey along the side of the road near the canal, contacted Gardaí who authorised his seizure and for him to be transferred into the care of MLHR.
Harvey – as he is now called – was diagnosed by the MLHR vet with ragwort poisoning, a condition the results in extreme sensitivity to light. The condition affects non-pigmented areas of skin and produced the open wounds seen on all four of the pony's legs (see image above). According to the vet who treated Harvey at the MLHR farm, the condition also results in excruciating pain. Harvey is now on painkillers for the pain associated with the ragwort poisoning. Harvey's spine also showing signs of damage caused by being ridden roughly and while too young (note: horses and ponies should not be ridden before the age of 4).