The RSPCA is appealing for information after a horse was put down after being found emaciated and collapsed in a Norfolk field.
The horse was found in a paddock just off a public footpath in Doe Lane, Old Buckenham, earlier this month (3 December).
“The poor mare had been left tethered in the enclosed field with two other horses, but due to her emaciated condition had become so weak she had collapsed,” said RSPCA inspector Laura Sayer.
“Unfortunately we are seeing more and more heartbreaking incidents involving neglected horses like this and it is extremely distressing for anyone to see.”
Redwings Horse Sanctuary field officer Julie Harding and Welfare Veterinary Surgeon Nicola Berryman attended.
Inspector Sayer, who was off-duty at the time, noticed the van at the side of the road and went to help.
“Julie and I attended the mare following a call to our welfare line about a horse that was struggling to stand,” said Nicola.
“When arriving at the site, the mare was down and with her tether trapped beneath her leg; she was very emaciated and therefore didn’t have the strength to free herself.
“Distressingly, her lengthy struggle to stand was evident from the deep trenches she’s dug into the ground with her hooves. She must have been down for several hours.
“Our attempts to help her up sadly failed and it was clear it was too late for this poor mare, so upsettingly the kindest option was to put her to sleep.”
The mare is estimated to be around four years old and was not microchipped.
Julie added: “I dread to think what further suffering this mare would have endured if we hadn’t found her. Left to continue her struggle in the cold and dark, she wouldn’t have made it through the night so at least we could give her a peaceful passing.”
Anyone with any information is urged to call the RSPCA inspector appeal line on 0300 123 8018.