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Emaciated foal rescued from freezing ditch *Warning: graphic images*

An abandoned foal has been rescued after it was discovered emaciated and near death. The pony was found next to his companion that had drowned in a ditch full of freezing water.

HorseWorld and World Horse Welfare were called to check on a number of fly-grazing ponies on a strip of wasteland near Avonmouth last month (16 January).

“When we saw the poor creature standing barely alive, we immediately called for assistance from the police and RSPCA to get authorisation to remove him,” said HorseWorld’s equine rescue manager, Jerry Watkins.

Felix World HW

Felix being rescued

“These foals were clearly dumped and left to die. There was nothing there to eat at all except for a few tufts of grass on the ditch’s steep edge.

“The poor deceased foal would most likely have been trying to reach this vegetation, slipped in and would have been too weak to climb out in his emaciated state.”

The rescued foal, which has been called Felix, is thought to be four or five months old. His dead friend is believed to have been a similar age. Felix is now being cared for at HorseWorld’s base in Bristol.

dead foal (with Felix)

The dead foal Felix was found with

“We have to lift him every so often through the night as if he lies down he isn’t strong enough to get up again.” said HorseWorld’s husbandry manager Joanne Vaughan.

“He would certainly have died that night if we hadn’t brought him home. There was a hard frost that night and he would have laid down or eventually collapsed on the cold frosty ground and nobody would have been there to lift him up again.”

Felix was not microchipped and therefore his owner cannot be located or prosecuted.

Felix World HW

Equine welfare charities are currently backing the Control of the Horses Bill, which will give local authorities greater powers to tackle fly-grazing. Last month (8 January) the new law passed the committee stage and it now moves on to its final stage in the House of Commons.

• Get the latest update on Felix’s recovery

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