A FIVE-YEAR-OLD boy has been left with horrific injuries after being kicked in the head by a horse illegally tethered near a children’s play area in Bradford.
Harlie Thompson was given only a 20 percent chance of surviving the three-hour operation he needed to stop part of his fractured skull piercing his brain after he was kicked when the horse reared up.
But Harlie, who underwent the operation at Leeds General Infirmary, has defied the odds and was allowed home last night to continue his recovery.
His mother, Laura, 23, says she wants the horse’s owner traced and prosecuted after her son was injured on Sunday near their home on Bradford’s Buttershaw area.
Bradford Council, which is working with the police to track down the owner, has condemned “reckless owners” who illegally tether horses on public land.
Ms Thompson said: “It was terrifying, I honestly thought Harlie was dead. It’s disgusting someone could leave a horse in a children’s play area. My son could have been killed.”
The horse was startled after Harlie and friend Lee Kirwan, seven, went to retrieve a football.
Miss Thompson said: “The horse went up on its back legs and kicked the back of Harlie’s head.
“Harlie was lying face down on the ground and started fitting so I rushed over to pick him up to move him away from the horse. I was in such a panic, I couldn’t believe what was happening.”
The boy was taken by ambulance to Bradford Royal Infirmary but was transferred to Leeds for surgery to lift part of his fractured skull away from his brain.
Surgeons drilled a hole in his head to relieve pressure from his brain.
Miss Thompson said: “I was told not to expect him to come out of it and if he did he could be paralysed – that he might not be able to walk, talk or feed himself again. Thankfully he seems to be making a good recovery so far, but he may need to have a metal plate inserted in his head.
“I’m sure whoever’s horse this is knows this has happened and I want them to know the damage it’s done.”
Harlie’s friend, Lee, was also kicked by the horse and suffered a minor eye injury.
Ian Bairstow, Bradford Council’s director for environment and sport, said: “We are deeply upset by the awful incident that led to two children being injured by an illegally-tethered horse and we wish them a speedy recovery.
“We will work with the police to track down and take all necessary legal action to enable prosecution of the owners of the horse and we urge anyone with any information about the incident to contact the police.
“The Council condemns the complete disregard for the law and for others’ safety that these reckless owners who tether their horses on public land display.”
Police have appealed for witnesses to Sunday’s incident to contact them on 101. The Council has also urged anyone who sees a horse on public land to contact it.