A dumped horse has been put down after it was found so emaciated and ill that it was unable to recover.

The RSPCA is now appealing for information to find the owners of the horse, who was collapsed in an Essex park.

She was so thin and weak she was lying in the road unable to stand.

The piebald mare was found at Wick Country Park in Wickford, Essex at around 8.30pm on Sunday 7 December.

The RSPCA was called by a member of the public, and when inspectors arrived they found the horse in an extremely weak state, lying in the road, unable to stand up or move.

She was examined by a vet, who also found that she had an intestinal problem, and recommended she was put to sleep to prevent any further suffering.

“I am used to coming across so many terrible equine cases in my job, but this really was one of the worst I had ever seen,” said RSPCA inspector Emily Cheeseman.

“This poor mare was all bones, she was so emaciated it was hard to give her any kind of body score. It was bitterly cold that night too, she must have been so uncomfortable.

“She collapsed when the member of the public who called us was with her, and then just could not get up again. The vet who attended said her heart was rocketing, a sign that she was in extreme pain.

“I felt just so sad seeing her there. It is simply unacceptable to leave an animal to suffer in that extreme way.

Anyone with any information about how this horse came to be in such a state is urged to call the RSPCA on 0300 123 8018.