A TWO-DAY-OLD foal which suffered horrific injuries when it was attacked by a dog in the New Forest has been saved by an army of volunteers who helped it feed round the clock.
The newborn could not hold its head up after being mauled so severely it was left with huge gashes on its throat.
Owner, commoner Don Dibden and friends, mounted a round the clock vigil to ensure the foal could feed from its mother otherwise it was in danger of dying from starvation.
Don’s wife Alison Lance told the A&T: “They literally had to take it in turns to hold the little pony’s head up to the mare so she could suckle. She could not even stand at first.
“My husband was getting up at 3am to make sure she had a feed and other friends came round day and night.
“If they had not done that she would almost certainly have died.”
The foal is the fourth animal belonging to Alison and Don to have been attacked by dogs while grazing in the Forest near their home in Ogdens, near Fordingbridge.
She is now planning to put up posters of the foal’s wounds around New Forest car parks near her home with the message: “Please Don’t Let Your Dog Do This!”
A furious Alison, who was on holiday at the time of the attack, revealed: “A friend walking her dog realised there was something wrong with the foal and managed to walk it and the mare down to our yard.
“It was not until the vet clipped the fur on its neck that the massive puncture wounds became apparent. They said they had been caused by a big dog, there were also bites to her little legs and the top of her head.
“It’s absolutely horrific.”
The foal needed round-the-clock care and antibiotics.
Alison said: “It was very much touch and go but she seems to be recovering. She can walk now and hold her head up. But it will be a while before she and the mare can go back to the forest.”
In 2017 one of their foals died after being bitten by a dog while another foal attacked last year was saved. Six years ago Alison nearly lost a calf that had been badly mauled by a dog
She said: “By the time we got to the calf it was alive with maggots, these animals are really left to suffer horribly when someone doesn’t report what has happened.
“The foal that died could have been saved if someone had done that as the wound was only minor but turned septic.”
The foal mauled a year ago fortunately only suffered minor wounds. Alison revealed: “Somebody saw the attack that time and managed to get the details of the person’s van and we were able to stop them leaving the car park. We also managed to get treatment for the foal.
“I wish people whose dog do attack animals would report it immediately to the verderers it is wrong to leave them to suffer.”
“I think a lot of them are worried about facing hefty vet bills. But they don’t realise how much damage a dog can do to an animal.
“I’d also appeal to anyone who witnesses an attack to report it giving the verderers as much detail as possible about the dog owner, the dog and the animal it is has attacked.”
A dog owner whose pet attacks livestock on the Forest can be charged by police and fined.
A spokesperson for the verderers said all attacks should be reported immediately to them or the police.
They said: “As soon as we are alerted we can get an agister to go out to look for the injured animal. If anyone sees an ongoing attack they should ring us, or the police.
“They should also note as much detail as they can about the dog owner including a vehicle registration if there is one.”
The verderers can be reached on 023 8028 2052 from 10am-4pm. Alternatively, ring the Forestry England call centre on 0300 067 4600, or dial 101 for the police.