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A Shetland in Burtwood was attacked and killed by dogs on Christmas Eve.

Monty, a 12-year-old rescue pony, was discovered by his owner Gary Cope when he went to check on him that morning.

Mr Cope and his family had owned Monty for four years.

“My dad found him lying on his side,” said Kelle Wildman, Mr Cope’s daughter.

“He knew there was something wrong as he didn’t lie down like that. He found his neck had been ripped open.”

Police were called and three dogs have been seized while officers carry out an investigation.

The family has been left “devastated” by Monty’s death.

“My dad is a hard man — I’ve never seen him cry like this. Monty was his baby,” said Ms Wildman.

“We didn’t bother with Christmas, we didn’t think it was right.

“We buy Monty presents, we had him a headcollar made and dad was just looking at it, he couldn’t take it to him.

“We had a purpose-built paddock and stable for him. He was beautiful — he had the nickname Squeaky.

“There are a lot of children on the yard, they all go round and see Monty, they loved him.”

Ms Wildman advised other owners to check their fencing to make sure it is secure to prevent such attacks as well as not letting strange dogs on to the yard.

A spokesman from Staffordshire Police told H&H officers were called to the yard at around 7.15am on the day of the attack.

“Three dogs which had escaped from their nearby enclosure, had attacked a Shetland pony at the address,” the spokesman said.

“Unfortunately, the pony died as a result of its injuries and the dogs were seized and taken to police approved kennels while officers from the force’s dog support unit carry out an investigation.

“The owner of the dogs is helping officers with the enquiry.”