The RSPCA is appealing for information about a dead horse found dumped amongst fly-tipped rubbish in Dunton Road, Basildon yesterday.

The body of an adult skewbald mare was found still warm and in an extremely thin state between Dunton Wayletts and Herongate. She had no microchip or other identification.

Around midday, two men with dark hair were seen dragging the body behind a black pick-up truck with closed rear.

RSPCA inspector Matt Gough said: “We are always really sad to hear of animals callously discarded in this way.

“In this case the horse was literally thrown out with the trash as her body was found amongst a pile of fly-tipped debris such as bricks and ropes.

“What I found the most upsetting was that the body was still warm when the passer-by found her.

"Our biggest concern is whether the horse suffered before she died. Unfortunately, in the thin state she was in, it seems very much as if she did, and that this was a classic neglect case.

“Anyone with any information about how he died, or evidence that an animal welfare offence may have been committed, should contact us on 0300 123 8018.

“Sadly, cases like this are not uncommon. The country is currently in the grip of a horse crisis with the RSPCA and other horse welfare charities struggling to cope with the numbers of abandoned, neglected and abused horses.

The RSPCA alone has more than 600 horses in its care and receives about 500 complaints relating to horse welfare every week.”

The body has been removed by the local council.