THE emaciated body of a horse has been discovered by a road sparking an investigation by the RSPCA.

The black and white horse was found dumped by the side of Lower Stock Road in West Hanningfield on Saturday, with a rope still tied round his neck.

A witness said they saw a white pick-up truck pull up and leave the body there at around 5.30pm.

Inspector Kate Fletcher said: “It is difficult to know for sure how this horse died, but he was in a terrible state and would definitely have suffered before he died.

“The horse was very young, probably just a year old, was suffering from diarrhoea, and emaciated. He looked as if he had had redworm and not been treated for it.

“The rope was likely put round his neck to drag him - so he could be dumped like rubbish by the side of this road.

“We urge anyone with any information about how the horse died and how the body came to be dumped in this way to call us.

“Sadly it is not uncommon for horses to suffer from redworm at this time of year. This is easily treated, but if they are not they go downhill very quickly. We would like to remind all horse owners to de-worm their animals at this time of year.”

The horse was a piebald colt and had about four strands of blue rope tied around his neck. Anyone with any information should call 0300 1234 8018.

It is the responsibility of the landowner or local authority to remove dead bodies in these circumstances.

The RSPCA confirmed it had spoken with the local authority who would carry this out.

Sadly situations concerning abandoned and fly-grazing horses are still frequent, making it more difficult for the RSPCA and other horse charities to monitor the welfare of certain horses, when they are currently on the move.

The RSPCA lobbied for new legislation in England to help landowners and local authorities to tackle fly grazing and to enforce identification laws.

Thankfully, this legislation, the Control of Horses Act, has been in effect since May 26 last year and is already starting to make a big difference in certain parts of the country worst hit by fly grazing.

To assist RSPCA inspectors in carrying out their vital work please text HELP to 78866 to give £3 (texts cost £3 + one standard network rate message).