It appears that the city Traveller feud has re-ignited after the past few two days were marked by violent incidents in Ballybeg and Williamstown.

Waterford Gardaí are investigating the series of events which commenced at 8pm on Wednesday night when shots were fired in the Williamstown area.

At 2.35am on Thursday, shots were fired at a house in the Saint John’s Park area of the city, which was occupied by five people at the time. None were injured nor was there any damage done to the property.

Two hours earlier, a vacant property at Brides Close, Templars Hall was petrol bombed. Sergeant Larry Langton of Waterford Garda Station confirmed that a specific line of investigation was being pursued following the night’s events.

At 1.34am this (Friday) morning, Gardaí received a 999 call following the discharging of two shots near a house in the Birch Grove area of Birchwood. A number of people were inside the house at the time and some damage was done to a front bedroom window on the property.

It is believed that two cars were seen driving away from the scene shortly afterwards, one of which is said to have been a silver Ford Mondeo.

Speculation is rife that a black Renault 19 with a Kilkenny registration which was found burned out in the Williamstown area this morning may have been the other vehicle involved.

But the most disturbing developments of recent days was undoubtedly the brutal mutilation of three horses in the city, all of whom had to be put down given the extent of their injuries.

Speaking to The Munster Express, Andrew Quinn of Waterford Animal Welfare said that the damage inflicted upon all three animals was unprecedented in his experience.

“The first horse in difficulty we were alerted to was a four-year-old at the Ballybeg Link Road on Wednesday night at 9pm” he said.

“It was an absolutely horrendous scene. One of the horse’s hind legs had been badly severed. The vet, who arrived at the scene promptly, examined the horse and initially thought he might be in a position to save the animal.

“But the thick bone on the hind leg had, in fact, been severed right through, so unfortunately the vet was left with no choice but to put the horse to sleep.”

Mr Quinn added: “The level of cruelty inflicted upon the horse simply beggared belief. To cut through the bone like that required an awful lot of effort. It’s difficult to imagine what was going through the mind of whoever did this.”

At 10am yesterday (Thursday) morning, Andrew received another call, this time leading to a ghastly discovery near the Williamstown halting site, where two seven-month-old ponies had suffered similar injuries.

“One of the ponies had a hind leg completelysevered off from just above the knee; while the other had its back right leg almost completely severed as well,” he said.

“The vet had no alternative but to put the ponies out of their misery. It was an awful, awful sight.”

Recalling the gruesome scenes, Mr Quinn stated: “I was completely taken aback by what I saw. Completely taken aback.

“To see what was done to these horses, these innocent animals…I mean, the two ponies were up there in that field in Williamstown, grazing away until somebody decided to do what they did to them. It was absolute madness. I have never seen injuries like this inflicted upon an animal.”

Speaking this morning, Sinn Féin Councillor David Cullinane claimed that as many as 50 Travellers are now involved in the feud which has blighted the city for several months. “We’re dealing with savages,” he said. “The full rigour of the law must be brought down on them.”

Anyone who may have information in relation to any of these incidents is urged to contact Waterford Gardaí at 051-305300.