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The owner of a horse who was put down due to injuries he sustained when he was spooked by fireworks wants their sale banned to the general public.

Nelly Shell’s ex-racer Boy was found badly injured in his field last weekend (23 October), after people nearby had a display in their garden.

“It was such a shock,” she told H&H.

“We think he tried to run away and got caught in the fence. When he tried to pull his leg back through, he totally de-gloved it.”

The wound was severe. Warning: distressing image.

A vet was called and Boy, a 12-year-old owned by Nelly for more than two years, was found to have severed a tendon and sustained extensive damage to the cannon bone.

“From the picture, it looks fairly superficial,” Nelly said.

“But when the vet cleaned it up, there was something he thought was a blood clot. Then he realised it was the tendon, completely severed.

“He bandaged it but said it was a really bad wound and I needed to think about putting him down. I got some other vets’ opinions and they said the same. I could have put him through six months of box rest and he could still have had to be put down at the end of it.

“They all said pretty much the same. We had him on bute for a few days but I looked in his eyes and his sparkle had gone. It was the kindest thing to put him down.”

Nelly was “completely devastated” by the loss of Boy, whom she described as “like an overgrown dog – the kindest-natured animal ever”, but now she wants to raise awareness of the damage fireworks can cause.

“They shouldn’t be sold to the general public, as in the wrong hands, this is what can happen,” she said.

“If these people had said they were having a display, we could have moved the horses, but they didn’t. I want to make people aware.

“Maybe they think that they’re big animals and wouldn’t be scared, but horses can be scared by a plastic bag, let alone a firework.

“If it means being able to save at least one horse then his pain and suffering won’t have been in vain.”


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A petition calling for changes to the law on selling fireworks was signed by more than 100,000 people this year, but in a debate on 6 June, the government declined to extend the current restrictions.

Nelly is calling for others to sign a new petition on the government website, which is calling for a ban on the sale of fireworks to the public, and currently has more than 41,000 signatures.

To sign, click here.

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