A dead horse dumped at the side of a road in Langwith has disappeared - but mystery surrounds who has taken the body.
Animal lovers were horrified when the piebald cob was discovered on Thursday night on a track just off Whaley Road.
Responsibility for removing the horse was ultimately found to have rested with Bolsover District Council, but before they could send out a team to deal with the situation, the horse had vanished.
“This did fall under our jurisdiction, but the horse was removed by another party, prior to us receiving a report,” confirmed a spokesman for the council.
“Much like everyone else, we have no idea who did this in the first place, nor who later removed the horse.”
Sarah Betts, who lives in Langwith, was one of several people who notified the authorities after being shocked by what she saw.
“It’s hard to know why anyone would dump a horse in the first place and even more strange someone else would remove it,” she said.
“It looked like the horse had been well kept at the time of its death. You can only think it is someone who doesn’t want the cost of disposing of a dead animal properly, but then why have a horse in the first place when you know they are expensive to keep?
“It would usually involve some kind of machinery to move a horse of that size, both in terms of loading and unloading, so you would have thought someone would have seen one or the other happening.
“I just hope those who are responsible are caught because it is not on, and not nice for anyone walking, particularly kids, to see that sort of thing.”
The RSPCA were notified and sent an officer to the scene, but did not know who later removed the horse.
“It was a very distressing discovery for the member of the public who came upon this poor horse,” said the RSPCA’s Sara Howlett.
“Unfortunately we have no way of knowing where she came from, or how she died.
“Sadly cases where the bodies of horses are increasingly common, and the RSPCA come across far too many dumped, neglected and suffering horses.
“The RSPCA is currently dealing with a horse crisis across the whole of England and Wales. We are already meeting the costs of more than 800 horses in our care, although we only have 100 places in our animal centres. This means the majority are being kept in private boarding.”
If you have any information about the incident, call the RSPCA on 0300 1234999 or let us know.