By Annamay McNally
A CANAL enthusiast has appealed to the community in the Coalisland and surrounding areas to report any suspicious activity after a dead pony was callously dumped along the local beauty spot.
It is believed the animal was left at the banks of Coalisland Canal near the High Bridge last weekend.
Officials from Dungannon and South Tyrone Borough Council’s Environmental Health team were expected to remove the pony on Thursday.
The Tyrone Times spoke to James Walshe, Vice Chairman of Coalisland Canal Group, about the incident which has shocked local people and those who use the area for walking.
“It was probably dumped at the weekend”, Mr Walshe explained.
“It is a young pony and although there has been some speculation that the animal was washed up on the banks of the canal, I don’t think that was the case. I think it was deliberately dumped where it was.
“The animal was there before the floods rose too high and somebody has conveniently thrown it in there to make it look like it was washed up.
“It would cause concern from a health and safety point of view, and it is also very unsightly.
“The canal walkway is used by literally thousands of people every month and this has been a great shock for the community who use this area.
“The Coalisland Canal Group would like to ask local people to keep an eye out for this sort of thing and report it to any of the committee members.”
Mr Walshe also praised the work of Coalisland Sinn Fein councillor, Padraig Quinn, for his assistance in having the animal removed from the area.
“I would like to thank Cllr Quinn for his prompt action and co-operation at this time.”
The local councillor told the TIMES many people, including young children, had been left “distressed” by the sight of the dead animal.
“A lot of very concerned constituents had contacted me in relation to the dumping of the animal at the High Bridge”, said Cllr Quinn, “and after visiting the area I immediately contacted the relevant bodies in order to get it quickly removed.”
He continued: “Quite a high number of families, cyclists and walkers visit this part of the canal on a daily basis, as it is normally a very attractive and scenic area. However despite the swiftness of our attempts to remove the animal, many people, some of which were young children, have been left very distressed after witnessing these disturbing images.
“There are major health impactions around this activity and those responsible clearly have no concern for the local community, or the welfare of animals.
“These activities must be highly condemned and those responsible held accountable for their actions. I would urge anyone with information to contact the local authorities or indeed myself, in hope that this will not happen again.”