THE distraught owner of a young horse has told of his disgust after learning its body was dumped on the side of a country lane.
Lee Manson says it was heartbreaking for his family when he was left with no option but to ask a vet to put their new colt, Rocky, to sleep after he suffered a broken leg.
The 28-year-old says he then forked out extra cash to have the body of the eight-month-old horse disposed of, after contacting someone within the horsing fraternity.
However, he says what was already an emotional time for the family was made even worse when they were told the body of their beloved horse was found dumped on Blue House Lane in East Boldon.
The grim discovery was made by passers-by on Friday morning, with people who had come across the body branding those responsible for dumping it as “sick”.
Since then, Mr Manson says his family have been inundated with messages slating him and his girlfriend, adding even more distress in what was already a heartbreaking time.
Mr Manson said: “We had been putting him out on a field at the back of the house and bringing him into the garden on a night time, because he was so young.
“Then on the Wednesday, when I went out, he was lying down. I tried to get him up, but he just did not get up. Then I saw what I thought was a broken front leg.
“I phoned my cousin and he came over. We managed to get him into the garden and phoned for a vet.
“The vet came out and he charged me £75 for a call-out fee, then a further £50 to put him to sleep.
“He said if we wanted to keep the horse alive, it would probably cost us £15,000, but we don’t have that kind of money.
“We covered him in his red coat and I came back in the house. I just couldn’t bear to be there when he was put to sleep.
“My girlfriend was distraught. We were all crying. We had only had him for a few days, but he had already made himself a part of our family.
“We did everything right, so we were shocked to find a picture of Rocky in the paper, dumped the way he had been.”
Mr Manson said he paid £125 for the horse to be taken away and properly disposed of and Rocky was picked up on Thursday night – a day after he was put to sleep.
“But, by Friday, horse owners were contacting the Gazette to tell of their disgust the body of a foal had been dumped on the side of a country lane in East Boldon.
He added: “The whole thing is tragic. I felt sick when I was told what had happened.
“Rocky had a white patch on him and no one has been able to confirm whether the horse that was found had a white patch, but we are more than certain it was Rocky – it’s too much of a coincidence.
“I’ve had horses all my life, my mam has had horses. The whole thing has been distressing for us all. It makes me sick to my stomach to think people would think I would do something like this.
“I have been down to the police and gave them everything – all the contact numbers I had for the people I got in touch with, everything.
“I’ve even told them they can come down and inspect my vehicle. They’ve said they are going to investigate.”
His cousin, Aaron Sehman, who was with the horse when it was put to sleep, said: “There has been some people saying the horse was still alive – it wasn’t.
“I was there when the horse was put to sleep by the vet, as Lee and his girlfriend were so upset. It’s just disgusting that he was dumped the way he was.”