YOBS have been slammed after a horse needed more then 90 stitches when it was slashed.
It was initially thought the horse could have injured itself on barbed wire but the theory was quickly ruled out when the extent of the injuries were seen by experts.
The distressed owners of the horse, Andrew Blench, 41, and Alison Cook, 42, have no idea who or why the horse was attacked.
The horse, a five-year-old trotter called Tommy, needed more than 90 stitches to close the wound has now been moved from the field.
It was left with a 10in to 12in horizontal cut on its neck that is around 4in-deep and was bleeding heavily.
A vet from Dunelm Veterinary Group was called out and said had the horse not been found when it was, it could easily have died from blood loss.
The owners are now facing ever-increasing vet fees and their horse faces the ongoing risk of infection making the road to recovery a long and expensive one.
The horse has recently become an up and coming champion in the sulky racing circuit having been placed in the top three of 12 races and the outright winner of the other nine.
Tommy was about to be moved to a stables for further training to improve on its fitness and performance, but due to the severe injuries its racing career will now be on hold.
Police are appealing for witnesses and information to lead to the arrest and conviction of those involved in the attack in Pesspool Lane, Haswell, early on Thursday.
The investigating officer, PC Kevin Woodcock, who is based in Seaham said he had never come across anything so barbaric in his more than 20 years police service.
“The wound was horrendous and could not have been the result of an accident. We suspect something like a butcher’s knife may have been used. If anyone has any suspicions as to how who was responsible, I would urge them to contact the police or the independent charity Crimestoppers.”
Ring Durham Police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.