A CHAMPION horse needed 90 stitches after its neck was cut open in a suspected knife attack.
Tommy’s owners Andrew Blench, 41, and Alison Cook, 42, have been left distressed and angry after he was found bleeding in his field in Pesspool Lane in Haswell.
Police were called to the paddock this morning after he was discovered with the injuries, with suspicions the wound was caused by barbed wire ruled out because of the extent of the cut.
Officers believe a butcher’s knife could have been used in the assault.
The owners have told police they have no idea who or why the horse was attacked and it is thought with the ever-increasing vet fees and the ongoing risk of infection, the road to recovery will be a long and expensive one.
The injuries to the horse were on the right hand side of the animal’s neck and consisted of a 10 to 12in horizontal cut, approximately 4in deep and bleeding heavily.
A veterinary surgeon from Dunelm Veterinary Group has treated the pet and stated that Tommy not been found when he was, he could easily have died from blood loss.
The horse needed 90-plus stitches to close the wound has now been moved from the field.
The five-year-old trotter has recently become an up and coming champion in the sulky racing circuit having been placed in the top three of 12 races and the outright winner of the other nine.
He was about to be moved to a stables for further training in order to improve on its fitness and performance.
Due to the severe injuries its racing career will now be on hold.
Police are appealing for witnesses and information to lead to the arrest and conviction of those involved.
The investigating officer, Pc Kevin Woodcock, who is based in Seaham, has said he has never come across anything so barbaric in his 20-plus years police service.
He added: “The wound was horrendous and could not have been the result of an accident.
“We suspect something like a butcher’s knife may have been used.
“If anyone has any suspicions as to how who was responsible, I would urge them to contact the police or the independent charity Crimestoppers.”
Durham Constabulary can be called on 101 or Crimestoppers contacted anonymously on 0800 555 111.