Youths are accused of leaving a horse with a deep cut to her nearside fore leg in a knife attack in Steelstown, Londonderry last Friday evening (12 August).

Local vet Damian Owens was not able to stitch five-year-old Patch’s leg and it is now badly infected. He said that he is unsure if the wound will fully heal.

The owner of the mare, Adrian Lyle, found blood “squirting out of her” with 10-12 young people gathered nearby.

The one holding the knife threatened him before he managed to lead Patch away.

He said: “At the end of the day an animal can’t speak for itself, so you have to speak up and defend them.

“If they can to that to an animal, what are they going to do to a human being?”

Patch is now said to be very nervous of strangers.