They had seemingly been healthy foals. How did they come to die and why were their bodies piled unceremoniously in an illegal dumping area in southern Wales?
The British RSPCA is appealing for information after the four foals were found piled on top of each other and dumped amongst rubbish in Pentre Meyrick, in Cowbridge.
The foals, one black, one grey and two grey-and-white, were found on Friday, May 4.
The RSPCA said there were no signs of decomposition, suggested they had only recently been dumped.
The horses were not emaciated, and there were no visual signs of cause of death, the charity said.
Blood was visible on the lower part of one foal’s leg and another had blood visible in its mouth.
The area, a well known illegal dumping area, had no other horses in the vicinity.
The RSPCA said it had established that the bodies, now removed, were not awaiting collection for disposal.
It said suspicion surrounded the circumstances of the deaths of what it called “seemingly healthy” foals and staff were determined to find out how they died.
“With no other evidence, it is difficult to tell exactly what has happened to these young foals and we are appealing for anyone with information to give us a call,” RSPCA inspector Christine McNeil said.
“Although the horses may well have died from natural causes or been put to sleep for a legitimate reason, the fact that they are all seemingly healthy young foals does arouse some suspicion as to their cause of death.
“Added to this, of course, is that dumping horses illegally is not the right thing to do.”
McNeill appealed to anyone with information about the foals, no matter how seemingly insignificant, to contact the charity on its 24-hour cruelty line, 0300 1234 999. Calls are treated in the strictest confidence.
Meanwhile, the charity is also investigating the death of an emaciated pony found stuck in mud on marshes close to Shornemead fort in Gravesend, England, on May 7.
A four-hour rescue operation freed her, but she died soon after during efforts to warm her up under a thermal blanket.
RSPCA inspector Vikki Dawe said: “This was a very undignified end to her life. When the vet examined her she was emaciated and there was evidence she had been suffering from diarrhoea.
“If anyone knows who could have left this sick pony in such a sad situation please could they contact our cruelty line on 0300 1234 999.”