The Dublin SPCA says it has no doubt that the horse whose charred remains were found in the south of the city late this week had been alive when set alight, despite suggestions to the contrary.
The Irish Times has reported that police are satisfied from their investigations that the mare was already dead when petrol was poured on her carcass and it was set alight.
But the SPCA said witnesses its staff had interviewed left no doubt the mare was alive before it was set alight.
The charity told the Irish Times it believed assertions to the police the animal was dead before the burning had come from witnesses in the hope other horses would not be removed by the local authorities in response to the incident.
It said it had received fresh information about the burning in Tallaght, believed to have occurred in the early hours of Thursday.
“The new information received today has revealed that the horse was a mare who had recently weaned a foal,” the charity reported.
“She appeared to be sick prior to the incident, possibly suffering from mastitis.
“She was reportedly tied to a lamp post and was seen choking on the rope before being removed shortly before her death.
“Another report tells of seeing a number of youths pouring a bottle of vodka down the mare’s throat. Currently these reports are unverified but we will be following them up to complete the case file.”
It described reports in the media that the horse was dead before being set alight as unverified, and no witness had testified to it.
“The DSPCA feels that this information about her death prior to the incident has been given in the hope that other horses will not be removed by the local authorities.
“The original reports came in to the DSPCA from the Garda (police) station in Tallaght, and subsequent information received has left the DSPCA with no doubt that the animal was alive at the time of the incident.”
It called on local authorities across Dublin to implement existing legislation included in the Control of Horses Act 1996.
The DSPCA has described the attack as an act of deliberate and depraved cruelty, saying it had never seen such levels of abuse.
It suspected the horse had been abandoned before her death.
Five other horses in the vicinity were moved to safety by agents of the local authority, with help from the police.
DSPCA chief executive Brian Gillen described the nature of the horse’s death as a deeply sinister development.
“The horrendous death that this horse endured is unimaginable.
“Whilst we encounter many horrific cruelty and neglect cases with regard to abandoned horses, we have never seen such levels of deliberate and depraved cruelty.
“This awful incident only reinforces the plight of abandoned horses that are roaming across the Dublin landscape.”
The charity believes several young people were involved in the crime.