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The owner of a pony who suffered horrific injuries and had to be put down after a suspected attack by a pack of dogs wants to raise awareness of the issue.

Oonagh Griffin’s 14.2hh mare Tika was found with three broken legs and “covered” in bite marks on Friday night (7 September).

“Thank goodness we found her and the vet came quickly,” Oonagh told H&H. “It was a horrible death but if we hadn’t found her till morning, it would have been even more awful.

“We found her standing on her fetlock, with the pastern and hoof just flopping. The other back leg she wasn’t weight-bearing on; it had been broken through the pastern, and one front leg, which she was weight-bearing on, unbelievably, was broken between the knee and the shoulder.”

The local hunt took Tika’s body away, but the Griffins asked staff to examine and photograph it. The pattern of bite marks along and underneath her neck, along with the leg injuries, they think suggests she was attacked by a group of dogs.

“I’ve heard people are breeding lurchers with pit bulls for stronger jaws,” Oonagh said.

“Tika’s from a hunting background so wouldn’t have reacted to the dogs, and whenever anything frightens her, she freezes; she would have been a sitting target.”

Warning, graphic image.

Oonagh said fields near their property, in the Wellington area of Somerset, have recently been harvested, and there are many deer in the area. She believes the dogs may have been with those illegally hunting deer, after dark.

“I hope these people didn’t see the pony and think it would be fun to go for her,” she said. “I really hope it was without them realising, and when they realised, they called the dogs off and scarpered but it’s very worrying. I think people need to know about this.”

“Illegal hunting of deer with dogs does go on, but it’s completely unacceptable. When people do it in the dead of night they can’t see what the dogs are going after, and there is no regulation.”

Oonagh paid tribute to her “lovely” pony.

“She was 20 but still full of life,” she said.

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“My children have grown up now but she was one of those ponies people borrowed to get their confidence back; she’d jump whatever you wanted.

“She was a typical lovely hunting/Pony Club type, who loved her cuddles; even when this had happened, one of my daughters came over and Tika turned her head. I thought, be careful, as she’s in pain but all she wanted was a cuddle. It’s heartbreaking.”

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