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Appeal to community workers after vandals terrorise horses


The house at Barnfield Road.US0909-135A0THE owners of four horses terrorised last week when teenagers caused extensive damage to a house at Barnfield Road have appealed to community workers in Lagmore to help prevent young people from the area carrying out similar acts of vandalism in the future.

Cindy and Stan Cunningham say they received help from community workers in the Lagmore area when vandals targeted their horses last summer.

This resulted in the problem dying away for a number of months and the couple hope they can receive the same kind of help following last week's incident.

During this attack vandals smashed all but two of the windows in the dwelling which belongs to Mrs. Elaine Mairs.

They also kicked in the front door of the house which is occupied by Mrs. Mairs' tenant who was away at the time.

Brood Mare 'Ghost'The vandals then turned their attention to the Apaloosa horses owned by Cindy Cunningham and her husband Stan which are stabled on the premises. They chased the animals away from the area in which they normally live before wrecking the stables and exercise yard where the horses spend the day during winter. Fortunately, the vandals' trail of destruction came to an end earlier than they intended when relatives of Mrs. Mairs realised intruders were on the premises as they drove past.

They turned into the property and the gang fled, leaving behind a scene of devastation.

A distressed Mrs. Mairs was horrified when she saw the damage and expected insurance assessors to estimate repairs at more than £2000.

Later, when Cindy arrived she found much of the Cunningham's equestrian equipment wrecked. The stable and yard area where the horses spend the winter had to be completely cleared before the frightened animals could return.

Mrs. Mairs said vandalism at the house had been an ongoing problem for many years and Cindy explained how the horses had been targeted in the past.

Last summer, she said, a gang struck as the horses, including a four month old foal, grazed in one of  the fields they occupy during summer.

A great deal of damage was caused and the horses were chased into an adjoining field.

The Cunninghams removed the foal as soon as the weaning process had been completed and took it to stables at their own house along with another horse.

However, the facilities and space available at Mrs. Mairs' house are ideal for horses and the couple are both angry and distressed at having to move any of them.

"In summer they are grazing during the day - we use strip grazing - but in winter I can go down in the morning and let them out of the stables into the yard which has a large barn area where we can put straw for them," said Cindy

"Horses should not have to stay in stables during the day. They should be able to move around and exercise."

The Appaloosa horses owned by the Cunninghams belong to an ancient breed depicted in cave paintings as far back as prehistoric times.



Ulster Star