An appeal has been launched after a 12-year-old pony had to have 28 stitches after it was deliberately cut.
The white Connermara/Highland cross pony was injured in an incident in the Schivas area of Ythanbank, near Ellon.
Following the incident, which took place at some point between 4.30pm on November 30 and 11am on December 1, the animal needed 28 stitches to an 18-inch cut across its left-hand side.
PC Alan Mitchell, who is leading the investigation, said: “Inquiries are ongoing to establish what has happened to the horse, but I would appeal directly to any neighbours or residents in the area who may have seen anything unusual or suspicious around the time this happened to contact us.
“The horse suffered an 18-inch cut across its left side which required urgent medical attention and 28 stitches.
“I would urge anyone with information in relation to this cruel act to come forward. This incident caused significant stress to the owners of the horse, which is now recovering.
“We have not received any reports of similar incidents in the area but I would urge horse owners to check their animals regularly and report anything unusual to police.
“Anyone with information should contact police on 101.”
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Keith Marley, inset, of animal sanctuary New Arc, near Ellon, said it is “worrying” to hear someone take “advantage of a vulnerable animal”.
He added: “It’s ridiculous to hear of someone doing this to a defenceless animal.
“If it’s someone with a grudge on the owner, it’s worrying to hear someone taking advantage of a vulnerable animal.
“If this was a riding horse, it would be very hard to get them back on the saddle after this trauma.
“I think this needs to be looked at very seriously by police and the court and hope they will impose hard penalties.”