Authorities in Northern Ireland say they are investigating after pictures and videos of alleged horse abuse were shared online.
Photographs and footage of a partly clipped horse have been circulating on social media, to widespread condemnation.
The images show the horse twitched, with a bloody mouth and what appears to be a missing front tooth, and hobbled, with a rope from the fetlock strap over its neck, keeping its head down.
Messages apparently sent by the person or one of the people involved indicate that the horse kicked him, adding “teeth fell out” and “lost the head”, with a laughing emoji, in response to the question “what did you do?”. One video, which zooms in on the twitched horse’s mouth as it drips blood, appears to end with the horse being hit in the face.
A spokesman for Police Service Northern Ireland told H&H the videos first emerged some months ago.
He said: “Police in Mid Ulster received a report regarding cruelty to horses in the Magherafelt area in January 2020.
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“Under the Welfare of Animals Act (NI) 2011, district councils are responsible for the enforcement of the legislation as it applies to non-farmed animals. This would therefore include horses. The report was subsequently passed to council animal welfare officers who are currently investigating the matter.”
A spokesman for Mid Ulster District Council confirmed the council had received “an animal welfare complaint” and that it is investigating.
An RSPCA spokesman told H&H: “This is very concerning, and we urge anyone with information to contact the authorities in Northern Ireland as soon as possible.”
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