A DEAD horse pulled from the river Severn was still attached to a trap, it has been revealed.
As reported on Sunday (and updated yesterday), a canoeist spotted the animal’s body floating in swollen waters near to Pitchcroft, Worcester, at about 11.15am on Sunday.
Crews from Hereford and Worcester Fire and Rescue Service launched two rescue boats to reach the horse, which they tethered with a rope before towing it back to the riverbank by Worcester Canoe Club.
As they pulled the animal from the water, firefighters found a trap attached to its bridle. There were concerns that a person may have been with the horse and a full sweep of the river was carried out, but no other bodies were found.
It is believed the horse was without a rider when it went in to the water.
It is not known when or how it came to be in the river or where it came from and the RSPCA is appealing for more information.
RSPCA inspector Pippa Boyd said: “This is a deeply unsettling incident and we urgently need the public’s help.
“At the moment we have no idea when this happened and so we need to hear from anyone who can shed some light on this dreadful discovery.”
It is understood the trap is similar to those used in trotting races – a pastime popular with, but not exclusive to, the traveller community.
A spokesman from West Mercia Police said it was quickly established nobody was with the horse and the incident had been referred to the RSPCA.
Police checks confirmed that there had been no one reported missing in the area in recent days.
Crew Commander Martin Grey from the fire service said: “We were concerned to find the trap attached to the horse as we pulled it from the water, but despite an extensive search of the river, both up and down stream, nothing further was found.”
Anyone with information about the horse should call the RSPCA on 03001 238018.
Calls will be treated in confidence.