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The RSPCA is appealing for information after a child’s pony was shot dead in Co Durham.

The pony — called Bob Marley — was found dead at around 10.30am on Friday, 18 June in its field in Guerney Valley, Bishop Auckland.

The owner, 11-year-old Bronson Honeyman, discovered the dead pony with wounds to the neck.

Bronson is experiencing a particularly difficult time at the moment, having just finished treatment for a brain tumour. He was recently awarded a Braveheart award, which recognises brave children across the region

“He loved that little horse. I just can’t believe someone could be so cruel,” his mother told local press.

The RSPCA believes the large wound was caused by a shotgun and it is thought the incident happened overnight.

“What happened here is absolutely dreadful,” said RSPCA inspector Ruth Coxon.

“This was a deliberate act of cruelty which no doubt caused this horse a great deal of suffering and continues to cause a great deal of distress to the family, in particular Bronson.

“To discover a much-loved pet has been killed in such awful circumstances is shocking for anyone, let alone a young boy who has been through such a lot in recent months and our thoughts go out to him.

“Someone targeted this horse and we want to know who.”

The RSPCA has conducted enquiries locally but so far have no leads. Anyone with information should call: 0300 1234 999.