The RSPCA is appealing for information after the bloated body of dead horse was pulled out of a river in Worcester.
The local Fire and Rescue team successfully retrieved the body from the Severn, even though the horse was still attached to a trap. It's possible to see the bridle and harness still attached to the horse in the picture below.
Flood warnings have been issued a number of times to the area since May, and the river was swollen on the day the fire and rescue service were notified, reports the Worcestershire news.
There had been concerns that a person may have fallen in the river with the horse, but a body has not been found, reports the Worcester Standard.
RSPCA inspector Pippa Boyd said: “This is a deeply unsettling incident and we urgently need the public’s help. At the moment we have no idea when this happened and so we need to hear from anyone who can shed some light on this dreadful discovery.”
There have been a number of horrific attacks against horses over the past six months, though there is no suggestion that these crimes are linked with the discovery of this body.
The first horse, Barney was attacked in Carmarthenshire, Wales on 5 January.
Linda Vickerage, a nurse, discovered the remains of seven-year-old Welsh pony Barney when she went to give him and her other pony their evening feed at a field in Whitland.
Wales Online reported that when police and a vet examined Barney they found he had had his eyes removed, his mouth slit, his ear cut, and been slashed along his body, exposing his organs.
Less than a week after this horrendous attack, a two-year-old horse called Eric was found in Cornwall with his genitals, an eye and teeth cut out after the attack in a field in Cornwall. Police are investigating whether he was drugged before being attacked.
His owner Dawn Jewell said she had lost "her baby", a Friesian horse she had been wanting since she was a child. Animal lovers have been making their feelings of horror known in large numbers via Twitter, including the BBC horseracing presenter Clare Balding.
In May the RSPCA launched an emergency appeal to find foster homes for a "never ending tide" of abandoned young horses.
The charity said it was currently looking after nearly 600 horses and ponies which have suffered neglect and cruelty - a figure which has more than doubled since last year, with almost half of the animals involved being youngsters.
Anyone with information about the incident in Worcestershire is urged to contact the RSPCA inspector appeal line on 0300 123 8018.