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Three dead horses have been found dumped in the north of England in the past week.

Last Saturday (18 April) an emaciated pony with a wound to its neck was found dumped in a quarry in Co Durham.

The bay pony was found by a member of the public lying near a public footpath in Westerton in Bishop Auckland.

It was severely underweight and had a clean puncture wound to its throat, but had no other wounds to its body.

RSPCA inspector Nick Jones said: “This is a strange and unusual incident. The pony was emaciated when we found it but was wearing a head collar, which suggests it may have once belonged to someone.

“Because of the circumstances in which it was found, and the fact that the wound to its throat was clean rather than bloody, it would seem that the pony was already dead before it was abandoned. Either way, it seems unlikely this pony’s death was an accident.

“We are now trying to determine how this pony met such an unfortunate end. If anyone has any information about who may once have owned him I urge them to contact the RSPCA on 0300 1234 999 immediately.”

The same day (18 April) a dismembered coloured horse was found on the banks of the Wear in Sunderland.

The piebald horse was found by a group of boat enthusiasts who spotted its limbs floating in the water.

The animal’s remains were stuck on banks of river and were visible when the tide went in and out. It is not known if the horse died of natural causes or was killed.

A spokesman for the RSPCA said: “We were called about the horse but because the carcass was in such a state there is absolutely no way of knowing what condition it was in before it died — so we can not tell whether it suffered or how it got there.”

And yesterday (Thursday 23 April) a dead horse was found dumped on Waterworks Lane, off Myddleton lane in Winwick, Cheshire.

It is not known how the horse’s body came to be there and the carcass was removed by Warrington Borough Council.