Redwings Horse Sanctuary is appealing for information after a miniature Shetland was stolen from its Ada Cole centre in Essex.
Yogi, a 6hh appaloosa four-year-old, has been located and will be returned to the centre after a period of quarantine, but the police and Redwings staff are asking anyone with information about the theft to come forwards.
Yogi was found not to be in his field on Friday morning (23 September), and the Redwings’ equine care team raised the alarm.
The site was searched and, although there was no sign of damage or tampering to the fences or gates to his field, there was evidence of damage to the exterior perimeter fencing of the site, and electric tape and battery packs had been moved.
It is thought the pony may have been lifted over the fence to the field, which he shared with a large group of other miniature Shetlands.
Police were immediately called and, following calls from members of the public on Friday afternoon, Yogi was found safe a few miles away, near a local primary school.
He was wearing a headcollar taken from Redwings but appeared to have suffered no ill effects from his abduction.
Redwings’ chief executive Lynn Cutress said: “We were all absolutely devastated and extremely worried for Yogi’s wellbeing.
“We think of every resident as if they were our own ponies, so the team and all of us were extremely distressed by Yogi’s disappearance and by the thought that he may have been taken by someone.
“We are so relieved he has been found safe and sound and so grateful to the members of the public who found him and reported it so promptly. It could have been so much worse and we would implore anyone with any information about this distressing incident to contact us or Essex Police.
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“Yogi is microchipped so we were hopeful that this would aid his return; it is in situations such as these that the importance of microchipping for all animals really does come to the fore.”
Any information about Yogi or details of suspicious activity around the Ada Cole centre can be reported to Essex Police on 01245 491491 or 101.