A pony has been found dead in a field with a ‘dog lead’ wrapped around its neck.

The animal was found earlier this week in a rural field in the area of Hog Hill, Hilfield Hill and Up Cerne.

The circumstances behind its death are currently unknown although nearby residents have described it as ‘odd.’

A local woman who did not wish to be named said: “This is truly horrible. It’s one of our favourite walks, but it has been a tad marred now unfortunately. I just hope the police get to the bottom of this and maybe, just maybe prevent this happening again to another poor animal.

“It was horrible and has greatly upset me. It’s pretty grim and the location it was in is totally rural.”

The incident has been reported to Dorset Council and Dorset Police Rural Crime Team for further investigation.

A spokesperson for Dorset Council said: “We can confirm we have received a report of a dead animal in the Hilfield Hill, Hog Hill and Up Cerne area.

“Our animal health officers will be attending the site of the reported carcass this week to investigate.

“If they are able to locate the dead animal, they will use its ear tag to identify it to a holding and if they are unable to locate the animal, they will make enquiries with local farmers.

“Officers will attempt to identify the owner of the fallen stock and ensure that the carcass has been properly disposed of.”

The news comes after a flock of sheep were recently attacked by a dog in the West Dorset area.

The incident occurred on an area of farmland off of Sheepwash Lane between Broadwindsor and Pilsdon Pen. 

The attack left one of the ewes with severe injuries to its legs and neck and died shortly after being found. 

Several other ewes were left injured after defending themselves from the dog. 

Dorset Police are appealing to anyone who may have seen the sheep attack or who may have any information regarding the attack to come forward.