A thoroughbred horse was shot dead and dumped in a mother-of-two’s garden over an alleged £30 debt.
Beckie Warner found the body of Kit, a former racehorse, outside her home in Raskelf, North Yorkshire on Wednesday night.
She had placed the horse at a DIY riding and facility two weeks ago in grass livery at a cost of £10 a week.
"They asked me to pay a month up front but I didn't because people had warned me not to, I told them I would pay at the end of the month," Warner said.
"Somebody from the centre phoned me the night before and told me to pay up, but I said I would be paying them at the end of the week and they seemed fine with that.
"They told me if I don't pay up they would tie my horse up in my garden," she said.
It is believed the horse had been killed and driven to the property in the bucket of a JCB before being dumped in the garden.
Police and the RSPCA were called after Kit’s body was found and two arrests have been made at the GG Centre in Raskelf. Two men aged 36 and 53, were arrested on suspicion of criminal damage and are currently in police custody.
RSPCA inspector Karen Colman said the horse had been killed illegally with a .38 pistol and that there was nothing physically wrong with the animal before it was killed.
Warner said: "I am absolutely devastated. I still cannot think straight. It's like being in a trance.
"I cannot get my head round what has happened, that someone could do something so evil. It's unreal.
"I'm distressed by how somebody could do something so evil to an innocent animal, put a bullet in its head for just £30, not three grand but £30.
"At about 9pm my horse would have been in her field happily eating grass and someone has taken her out, put a bullet in her head and dumped the body in my garden.
"The body was still there at 11am this morning, I had to tell my girls it was a cow under the sheet. They used to ride her.”
Edward Harvey Johnson, owner of the GG Centre, confirmed the horse had been left with them in a DIY livery field owned by the centre, at a cost of £10 a week.
He said the centre had tried frequently to contact Warner and had told her they would tether the horse in her garden if she did not contact them.
He said attempts to get the animal safely into a horse box were unsuccessful so the horse had been put down humanely by a licensed specialist in the field and then transported to Warner's garden.
Johnson said: "We removed the destroyed horse for them to dispose of in the correct or legal manner, as is the responsibility of the owner. We are satisfied it was handled in the best possible way and we fulfilled our obligations for the safety and well-being of the general public.
"In this business you have to make these kind of decisions and they are not always pleasant or easy, but they have to be made. The buck has to stop somewhere."
Warner had had the horse since April as part of a full loan agreement, which she says means to all intents and purposes she owned the animal but could not sell it.
She says the seven-year-old former racehorse belonged to a friend.Suggest a correction