Just horsing around!.

Thursday, 11 January 2018

Just horsing around!. thumbnailA goat, donkey and three horses were the unexpected visitors to the Mall last weekend.

Visitors to the Mall could have been forgiven for thinking that they had stumbled into a petting zoo last weekend, after a group of animals were spotted roaming free.

A goat and a donkey - as well as three horses - were oblivious to the public's besmused reaction as they made themselves home in the open green space on Saturday (January 6) morning.

While clearly enjoying the environment by helping themselves to the Mall's lusicious greenery, welfare concerns were quickly raised in light of no apparent explanation as to how the animals arrived at the Mall, and whether they had an owner or were being cared for.

Subsequently police were notified and the animals have since been place in the care of an animal sanctuary. A spokesman for Armagh Cricket Club, which is based at the Mall, praised police and the charity for their caring and effective response.

"We were pleased to have two police officers present; their patience and skill were well appreciated. The police called the animal sanctuary based near Antrim and after about an hour they arrived with their horsebox, complete with food buckets and halters. The animals were quietly loaded into the horse box parked near the pavilion. The sanctuary staff showed great skill in keeping the animals quiet while they were loaded safely into their box," he revealed. "No damage was done to the cricket playing areas; we have a few hoof marks on the soft ground".

The spokesman added that it appeared that the animals had made their way to the Mall from the Loughgall direction of the city. "They grazed quiet happily from the white walk all the way down towards the black walk. They were very peaceful and were enjoyed by many families who were most surprised to see horses on the Mall," he said.

The group of four-legged city explorers have since gained a following online, with some of the Ulster Gazette's Facebook audience sharing stories that the animals had indeed been spotted in other areas across Armagh, prior to arriving at the Mall.

Others also voiced concern in relation to the animal's welfare, however a PSNI spokesperson has assured the public the animals are being cared for.

"The three horses, a donkey and a goat were recovered by police with no injury to them, or any persons," they said.


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