The RSPCA is appealing for information after a young foal was found dumped in West Sussex with injuries so severe it had to be put to sleep.
The foal, who was between five and seven months old, was found suffering from a deep and infected fly blown wound when it was found in a lane in Cootham, near Pulborough, on Sunday (August 27).
The animal was also blind in the eye due to a leaking abscess, an RSPCA spokesman said.
The spokesman said: “The wound above the top of her hoof was down to the joint bone, was oozing pus and was severely infected, leaving the poor foal in a tremendous amount of pain and suffering.”
Following the advice of a vet, the foal was put to sleep.
It was considered the best course of action to prevent further suffering, the spokesman said.
Tony Woodley, RSPCA Inspector, attended the incident and said: “This was a shocking example of neglect and cruelty to the highest degree.
“The foal could not bear any weight on her infected leg and it’s likely the injury had been caused by being caught in a wire or some kind of illegal tether.
“This poor foal had clearly been left to suffer for a prolonged period of time during her very short life and as a result was suffering greatly.
“Whoever dumped her was clearly a callous and irresponsible individual who had no thought for her welfare and just left her to die alone and in pain.
“Even transporting an animal in this condition will have caused her a great deal of pain.
“Sadly this is yet again another awful example of a growing number of irresponsible horse owners, who are adding to the horse crisis across the country.”
He said a member of the public had heard a vehicle pull up in the area and then the sounds of a horse being unloaded.
When the person went to investigate, they saw a white transit type vehicle with a metal horsebox attached, which then drove off.
Mr Woodley said: “It appears the vehicle either didn’t have any number plates or they had been covered.
“The foal had been dumped in the lane, luckily the kind hearted caller caught her and then waited for myself, the police and the vet to arrive and we are grateful for all their help and effort.
“I would appeal to anyone who has any information regarding who may have owned this foal to contact me in confidence on the RSPCA inspectorate number 0300 123 8018.”
The RSPCA currently has 870 horses in its care, Mr Woodley said.
“There appears to be no let up in this on-going equine crisis,” he said.
“It is devastating to think there are so many irresponsible owners out there who are allowing their animals to suffer and then when they just can’t be bothered anymore they dump them, leaving over-stretched equine charities like the RSPCA having to deal with it.”
The RSPCA and other equine welfare charities are calling on the Government to take urgent action to address the crisis, to deal with the numbers of horses being illegally abandoned and the lack of enforcement in the horse passport system.