A pervert has killed a young pony and seriously injured a horse in separate attacks at an animal sanctuary, believe its owners.
Mystery surrounds the attacks which happened a month apart at Little Bramble Animal Sanctuary in Polegate.
Sussex Police is advising livestock owners to make regular checks on their animals.
The horrified owners of the sanctuary fear the pervert may be stalking their premises after the 17-month-old pony was horrifically killed at the weekend.
The death on Saturday came just hours after owners Pat Evans and Zoe McQuade left their premises unattended overnight for the first time since the initial attack.
The pair made the grizzly discovery as they led a group of children in a field where the pony lay with other uninjured horses at the Sayerland Lane site.
The sanctuary’s young pony, named Bunnie, died from a head wound and suffered injuries to its eye, jaw and genitals.
It follows the sanctuary’s horse Charlie needing emergency surgery on a prolapsed bowel after last month’s attack.
Mrs McQuade said: “We couldn’t prove Charlie had been tampered with but then, when this happened to Bunnie, the vet said we had to phone the police.
“With Charlie the vet said it was as if he was forcing against something. With Bunnie she had blood coming out of both ends and around the anal area, but we cannot say what caused it.
“I don’t think someone personally abused her but they must have used something for her to sustain the injuries she did.
“How somebody could do that to a defenceless animal I don’t know; Bunnie was the most kind and loving animal we had. I don’t know how somebody can live with themselves having done this.
“It horrifies me to think about it. For three days we haven’t slept because we are constantly worried.”
She added: “What was heartbreaking is not only did we find her but we had children with us and they were heartbroken because they worshipped her.”
The owners opened the sanctuary seven years ago to protect vulnerable animals. There have been no attacks on its animals in that time, said Mrs McQuade.
Inspector Anthony Wakefield from Wealden neighbourhood police team advised owners of livestock and horses to make regular checks on their animals.
He said: “The pony has been examined by a local vet, but without a post mortem it is impossible to determine how the injuries were sustained or what caused its death.
“The field did contain other horses, but they did not suffer any injuries.
“Animals grazing in fields are vulnerable to many things and there is no evidence to suggest this pony’s injuries were deliberately inflicted.”
He added that if anyone hears or sees anything suspicious they should call 999 immediately.
Alternatively if you have any information about Bunnie’s death call Sussex Police on 101 quoting serial 707 of 13/10.