Horse hit in face by firework faces surgery to have eye removed

Victoria Bell
·4 min read
Dettori, 21, suffered severe injuries to his eye which his owners claimed was caused by a firework, which was set off as part of a display in a nearby field. (Charley Taylor)
Dettori, 21, suffered severe injuries to his eye that his owners claimed were caused by a firework set off as part of a display in a nearby field. (Charley Taylor)

A horse faces losing an eye after being hit in the face by a firework that was set off in a nearby field, his owners claim.

Charley Taylor and her mother Debbie were “distraught” after they said part of a firework hit their 21-year-old horse Dettori, leaving him in “excruciating pain” on Bonfire Night on Thursday in Countesswells, Aberdeen.

Charley wrote on a GoFundMe page set up over the weekend that the firework pushed the horse’s “eye so far into the socket that all the fluid as came out and filled with blood”.

Dettori now has to face a life-saving operation to remove his eye, because, Charley wrote, the vet had told them the damage was so severe it was “irreversible”.

The fundraising page has raised a whopping £13,000, nearly £12,000 over its £1,200 target.

The rest of the money, Charley pledged, will go to the SSPCA “to help other animals hurt due to fireworks”.

Dettori is said to have been hit by a firework from a nearby field. (Charley
Dettori is said to have been hit by a firework from a nearby field. (Charley Taylor)

Charley wrote that a man had set off a half-hour firework display in a nearby field to where their horses were kept.

She claims she and her mother confronted the man the next day and that he “showed no remorse”.

“This is the reality me and my mum are faced with after [the man’s] horrific choice to set fireworks off next to a field full of horses,” she wrote.

She added: “Both me and my mum feel it was important to share the message as to why fireworks are so dangerous, especially when they are used irresponsibly.

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“We are waiting to see how Dettori handles the trauma he has been inflicted, and as you can imagine he is very stressed. No animal deserves this.”

Charley told Yahoo News the horse is being seen again by a vet on Monday to determine if he will be able to undergo the surgery to remove his eye, and said he seems to be growing in confidence and strength since the incident.

Dettori
The 21-year-old horse was left in 'excruciating pain' after the incident, which happened on Bonfire Night in Countesswells, Aberdeen. (Charley Taylor)

Friends who live nearby saw the firework display, which started at around 7.30 or 8pm, and said the horses looked frightened.

They went to check on them after it had finished and saw from a distance that Dettori was in pain.

“He had his head tilted to the side,” Charley said. “He was in pain and was stressed and scared.”

The neighbours brought the horse to safety and notified the owners straightaway.

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Charley said that when she put her hand on his chest, his heart was thumping.

A Police Scotland spokesperson said: “Around 9.45pm on Thursday, 5 November, we received reports that a horse had been injured within a field on Blacktop Road in Countesswells.

The page has raised over £13,000. Pictured, Dettori before the incident. (GoFundMe)
The fundraising page for Dettori has raised over £13,000. Pictured, Dettori before the incident. (GoFundMe)

“Officers attended and enquiries are ongoing to establish if any crime has been committed.”

SSPCA Chief Superintendent Mike Flynn said: “We are sorry to hear of the injuries caused to Dettori the horse due to a firework and wish him a speedy recovery.

“We have been made aware of numerous incidents over the years where animals have come to serious harm and even death as a result of fireworks being set off near them.

“Animals have heightened senses and their hearing is much stronger than ours.

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“The bang from a firework is terrifying to an animal and some will panic and flee at the sound, which can result in road traffic accidents. We have even received reports of swans flying into electricity pylons and horses being badly injured after running through barbed wire fences.

"Fireworks have a negative effect on many people and animals across the country and we would ask that members of the public take this in to consideration if they are planning a fireworks display and show respect for people, their environment and any animals, domestic, farm and wild, that might be in the area.”

Watch: Firefighters pelted with fireworks on Bonfire Night