Police in Dorset are advising horse owners in the area to be vigilant after a mare in foal was found dead last night (4 July) with her ear cut off and part of her face cut away.

Dorset Police received a phone call at 7:30pm yesterday from a woman who had seen the horse in a field next to traffic lights at Bear Cross in Poole.

A spokesman for Dorset Police told H&H: “We don’t know if the horse died of natural causes and then was cut, or if it died as a result of a malicious act.”

The horse’s owner has decided not to request a post-mortem examination.

In a similar incident on 27 June a horse was found dead with a chest wound in a field in West Parley, Dorset. Its owner suspected the wound had been caused by a knife but, according to the police, a vet established that the animal had died of a heart attack.

A police statement at the time said: “We’re not yet able to confirm whether a crime has been committed. If this turns out to be a criminal offence then it is an isolated incident – and we’d advise all horse owners in the local area to be vigilant.”

Dorset Police said today there is no evidence that the two incidents are connected yet, but “couldn’t rule it out completely”.

Bear Cross and West Parley are about four miles apart.