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A 30-year-old Shetland pony suffered tears to its ears and head and a swollen eye after being attacked by a dog, its owner has claimed.

Josephine Hoy, of Wrestlingworth, Bedfordshire, found Barley covered in blood, with dozens of puncture wounds to his head, when she went to feed him on Sunday 21 March.

She believes the pony was set upon by one or maybe two large dogs as his paddock was covered in 5-inch paw prints.

“The dogs must have taken little Barley totally by surprise. He’s a real old boy, slightly arthritic and deaf,” said Mrs Hoy.

“There was a flattened area of mud, and he was covered in mud down one side, so I think the dog had him on the ground.”

Her vet agreed the injuries are consistent with a dog attack.

However, although Mrs Hoy believes she knows the dog responsible, she says the police have no proof and so can take no further action.