A pony has been discovered bludgeoned to death and mutilated in a horrific attack as the police urge horse owners to be vigilant.

The RSPCA has issued an urgent appeal for information after the pony, who had been in a field with other horses, was found dead by his owners on Sunday (10 January) morning in Normanton, West Yorkshire.

“The owners made the terrible discovery and called West Yorkshire police, who in turn contacted us,” said an RSPCA spokesman.

RSPCA inspector John Gibson said it was a “truly appalling” incident which took place in an isolated spot off Boundary Lane in Normanton.

“We think it happened on Saturday (9 January) night and would urge anyone with information to contact our appeals Line on 0300 1238018 or West Yorkshire Police,” he said.

“We are also warning horse owners in the area to be extra vigilant, given the nasty nature of this crime.”

Mr Gibson said it was shocking that someone was capable of such “deliberate brutality” towards a pony.

“This must have been terribly distressing for Filbert’s owners. Sadly horse mutilation is something that we do come across in our line of work up and down the country,” he said.

Inspector Sohail Mohammed, of the Wakefield north and rural neighbourhood policing team, said: “This was a sickening attack against a defenceless animal and I would also urge anyone with information about what happened to get in contact – either with the RSPCA or the force on 101 – quoting log number 871 of Sunday 10 January.”

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