A horse has died in Devon, after what police suspect to be a deliberate attack.

The 16.3hh bay mare was put down after it was found lying in its field with a serious head injury on Sunday (2 August).

Police believe the 15-year-old thoroughbred had been deliberately attacked, though they are “unable to say for certain” what happened to the animal.

The owners of the horse think the attack happened between 6pm and 8.30pm at the property in Chittlehampton, near Umberleigh in North Devon.

Vets who attended the incident were forced to put the horse down due to the extent of its injuries.

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However, Devon and Cornwall police told H&H the cause of injury is “still being determined”.

“One thought is that it has been struck with a blunt instrument like a hammer,” a spokesman told H&H.

The police are now appealing for information, and are urging all horse owners in the area to be on their guard.

“Due to the severity of its injuries the 15-year old thoroughbred had to be put down,” police spokesman Steve Grant told H&H.

“We are asking owners of horses and livestock in the area to remain vigilant and to report anything suspicious.

“If any member of the public has any information relating to this crime, please contact police on 101@Devonandcornwall.pnn.police.uk quoting crime reference CR/054196/15.”