HEARTRENDING video shows two foals stolen before they were weaned desperately feeding from their mothers moments after they were returned.
The Miniature Shetland ponies – just six and seven weeks old – were stolen by thieves who did not realise they still needed their mothers’ milk to stay alive.
The fillies were released after 36 hours and reunited with their mothers in Dumfries and Galloway.
Video taken by their owner shows the pair desperately guzzling from their mothers following their ordeal.
Thieves stole the ponies on June 1 and they were recovered 55 miles away in Carlisle on June 3. Police are still investigating the theft and owner Susan Calvert hopes the video will encourage potential witnesses to come forward with information.
Susan posted alongside the footage: “Back with their mums. This is why we needed to try and get them back asap.
“This is only down to the power of social media I can’t thank you all enough. Without all of you I wouldn’t have got my babies back.”
She added: “I think it’s important to get the message to people who would commit such an awful crime against animals that we will not turn a blind eye to this.”
The footage begins with the two foals, both with brown and white colouring, hungrily drinking from their patient mother’s in a small paddock.
The foal with more white than brown colouring is startled by Susan being too close, and she moves away to give them more space.
The other foal, who is almost completely brown with flashes of white, is undeterred and continues to drink milk from her mother’s teat.
Also, other ponies from the large field can be seen watching the foals from behind a fence – clearly curious about the reunion.
The white foal with brown markings rubs her mother before diving straight back in for more milk – then nuzzling her mother for some much needed comfort.
On social media, Lesley Starr (corr) said: “Poor little mites. Glad they are back safe. It must have been awful for them, their mums and owners. Thanks for letting us see this.”
Glenda Brown added: “So thrilled for you. Got to go find a tissue now.”
Jill Scougall commented: “Fantastic news. How lovely to see them reunited. How could someone take them away from their mums? So glad you found them safe.”
Helen Cassells added: “Aww I’m so glad these wee souls are back with their mums. There are some really nasty evil b* out there. How anyone could take these wee ponies and not give a thought about how they would be fed shows how stupid these evil nutters are.”
Veronica Harrison said: “I still find it unbelievable that someone could do that. Whatever next will they do?”
While Joyce Gray wrote: “So glad they are back. What is wrong with some people stealing animals?”
After the theft, Susan posted on social media: “Please please help. Two Miniature Shetland foals have been stolen from a field in Castle Douglas. They are only six and seven weeks old, they will die without their mums. Please let me have them back.
“Please if you have them please just leave them safe somewhere and they will be found. They are not eating hard feed so they will not survive.”
A spokesman for Police Scotland said there had been no arrests made in relation to the theft, and that enquiries are ongoing.
Speaking today, Susan said the foals – called Marti and Caitlin, were “horrifically dehydrated”.
She said: “I usually wouldn’t wean them until eight or nine months old, they are so young. And I don’t think they were given anything, not even water. They can’t eat hay or feed, and I doubt that they would have bottle fed them or taken the care to do so.
“They were so dehydrated, it was absolutely horrific.”
The foals were found in a shed in Brampton, Cumbria, after Susan’s social media campaign to find them spread across the UK.
Susan added: “We thought we would never get the foals back. I don’t know if they will ever be caught, but this has proved that social media means they can’t be successful with their crimes.”