A petition calling for a review into sentencing for animal abusers has already gained more than 5,000 signatures.

The petition to Scotland’s cabinet secretary for justice, Michael Matheson MSP, was started by a member of the public following the news of a horrific attack on a 23-year-old horse in Scotland last week.

The horse, called Blaze, was put down on 17 August after reportedly being stabbed and sexually attacked in a field in Maud, Aberdeenshire.

Maria Lynagh-Verrecchia, who did not know the horse or his owner, set up the petition on 21 August and it received 2,000 signatures in two days.

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She said the impact the news and picture of Blaze had on her moved her to act.

“I really expected to be manually sending round emails to people about the petition,” added Ms Lynagh-Verrecchia.

“I would like this to run – this is an opportunity and I don’t think we should let the chance go.”

The “Justice for Blaze” petition calls for an “urgent review” to the law and level of sentencing for animal mutilation and sexual abuse, taking into account pain and suffering to both animals and owners.

It also calls for an increase in police activity and funding for this type of crime.

Currently, the maximum prison sentence for an animal cruelty crime is 51 weeks.

Police Scotland told H&H yesterday (Wednesday, 26 August) that there are no updates on Blaze’s case yet, but enquiries are ongoing.

Last week (20 August), Detective Inspector Norman Stevenson appealed directly to residents in the area who may have seen anything unusual or suspicious to contact police.

“As a result of this cruel act a horse has died and a family have now lost a much-loved animal,” he added.

Blaze’s owner Zoe Wright has offered a £1,000 reward for information that leads to an arrest.

She said that between 9pm on 16 August and 6am on 17 August someone entered the field and stabbed Blaze twice in the chest before sexually violating her.

“My lovely Blaze was the nicest pony, she has been part of our family for 18 years,” she wrote on Facebook.

“The complete low life scum who did this to her needs to face justice for what they have done.”

Ms Wright also called for anyone in the New Pitsligo area to check their horses for suspicious cuts.

DI Stevenson added: “Patrols are carried out frequently in rural areas but we do rely on residents, land owners and people who work in the area to contact us to report anything unusual or suspicious.”

Anyone with information should contact Police Scotland on 101.

Alternatively contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Click here to view the petition.