'Sick' fire attack on horse

A Greenhithe horse owner is horrified at the antics of someone who tried to set her horse alight.

Police say the 'sick act' took place on Friday night, when someone set fire to the horse's fabric blanket. It was burnt in several places, and the fire ate 15cm holes in some parts, burning through to the animal.

Police say the horse was lucky not to have sustained severe burns.

Lauren Ankers, who owns Zara, says she was furious when she found the burn marks on her 12-year-old pet.

"It's bloody ridiculous. I was fuming, just really angry. She's an extremely friendly horse. The alternative outcome doesn't bear thinking about," says Miss Ankers, a local resident and secretary of the Greenhithe Pony Club.

Miss Ankers found lighters in the horse's paddock on Sunday and community constable Hermien Kok suspects youth are to blame.

"I think if it was an adult they would take their lighters back home," says Constable Kok. "It's really sick, there's someone out there that needs help. That's the worrying thing, if it is a younger person, a lot of serious offenders have been known to have harmed animals when they were younger."

Constable Kok says at this stage the attack appears to be an isolated incident and is asking local parents to speak to their children to find out if they know anything. They should also check if they have lighters missing.

"If they could also find out if anybody has been bragging about setting a horse alight, and contact us."

SPCA Auckland's chief executive Christine Kalin said the organisation was extremely concerned someone would try to set a horse on fire.

"This particular type of incident isn't common, we've had cases of tagging a horse with paint or graffiti, but not something like this. It's something we would take very seriously," she says.

Do you know anything? Call Greenhithe police on 443 8039.

- The Aucklander

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