The RSPCA has appealed for help in finding the owner of a dead pony that was tied to a lamppost.
The animal welfare charity was contacted by a member of the public after the chestnut mare was found "dumped like fly-tipped rubbish" at Gopsall Wharf car park in the village of Snarestone, Leicestershire.
It is believed the owner transported the emaciated horse in a truck before tying rope from her legs to the lamppost and driving away from the scene on Green Lane.
The RSPCA has now launched an appeal and urged anyone who may have information to get in touch following the discovery on Wednesday.
RSPCA Inspector Alison North said: “The small chestnut horse looked to be in poor body condition with her ribs, hips and spine protruding, and she had overgrown hooves.
“The pony was not microchipped and locals say they haven’t seen her in the area before.
"It’s unclear what caused her death, but we suspect her body was driven to the location on a trailer or truck by those responsible who then tied rope from her legs to the lampost, before driving away, dragging her body out of the vehicle onto the floor.
"It’s incredibly sad to think someone not only let her get into a poor state of health, but then dumped her body for somebody else to deal with in such a public place, it’s hugely irresponsible.
“I’m keen to find out more about this poor pony - how her body came to be dumped here, and who owns her and allowed her to get into such a poor state of health.
"Anyone with information can contact me in complete confidence on our inspector appeal line by calling 0300 123 8018.”
The charity said it was not uncommon to be called about gravely ill, abandoned horses, and dumped dead horses.
An RSPCA spokesperson added: "The country has been in the grip of an ongoing horses crisis for several years, thought to be caused by the recession, over breeding, the high costs of vet bills, the rising cost of hay and falling prices for horses.
"Last year, the RSPCA took in more than 820 horses in addition to those already in its care and received more than 20,000 calls to the emergency line about horses alone."