The body of a mutilated young pony has been found on the moors in Devon, England, and police say it may have been left in some kind of ritualistic way.
Devon and Cornwall Police are investigating the killing of the two-month-old animal and have appealed for witnesses.
Police say there have been three other reports of similar attacks on horses and ponies across the force’s region in the last 12 months.
The pony’s body was found on moorland at Yennadon Down, Dousland Yelverton, around 6.50pm last Tuesday.
The pony appeared to have been deliberately mutilated and officers are investigating the possibility that the body had been left in some kind of ritualistic way, police said.
Burnt patches of moorland were found around the animal’s body and there was paint used on one of the animal’s legs, the BBC reported.
The colt was thought to have been dead about 24 hours when found.
“This was a particularly nasty and distressing incident,” Inspector Andy Oliver, from West Devon Police, said.
“Someone will know who is responsible.
“This behaviour is bizarre and of concern, and I would ask anyone with information concerning the incident to contact the police.”
Police say they will be working closely with the RSPCA, the Dartmoor Livestock Protection Officer, and South West Equine Protection to investigate the killing.
Anyone in the area of Iron Mine Lane between Sunday and Tuesday evening, or who has any information about the incident, is asked to call police on 101 quoting log 918 of 23/07/13 or Crimsteoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.