IN A scene reminiscent of The Godfather, a horse was killed and then dumped in a garden in a pretty North Yorkshire village last night.
Police and the RSPCA were called to a house in Raskelf near Easingwold after a woman reported that her horse had been shot and killed.
Reports locally suggested the animal had been killed earlier in revenge for a small unpaid debt of £30, driven to the property in the hopper of a JCB, then dumped in the garden.
Two men have been arrested.
The horse, named Kit, was a seven-year-old thoroughbred former racehorse, leased by mother-of-two Beckie Warner.
Ms Warner said: “I cannot get my head round what has happened, that someone could do something so evil. It’s unreal - it’s like something you would read about.”
Police confirmed a 36-year-old man from Raskelf and a 53-year-old man from York were arrested on suspicion of criminal damage. Both remain in police custody.
A spokesman for North Yorkshire Police said: “Officers were called to an address in Raskelf at 9.40pm on Wednesday 15 October 2014, after a report of a horse having been shot and left in the property’s garden.
“Two men aged 36 and 53 were arrested on suspicion of criminal damage shortly before 12.30am on Thursday 16 October 2014. They both remain in police custody.”
Speaking to the Yorkshire Post, a spokesman for the GG Centre in Raskelf said the horse had been “abandoned” a mile away from the centre and was “extremely dangerous”, “nuts” and “deranged”.
He said the horse had “injured my son yesterday”.
“That’s the guts of it - a danger to the public.”
Asked about claims of unpaid livery fees, he said: “It’s not on livery here. It has been horseracing. It’s not unpaid, it has been abandoned and ignored.”
He said the horse had not been cared for and no-one had put a rug on it.
It was owned by someone “who didn’t fulfil her contract.”
The spokesman then handed the phone to a woman who said: “We don’t shoot horses here.”
The line was then disconnected.
But on a website forum, a user called Green007 wrote: “My horse Kit was not hard to catch or handle - she was a loving mare who did not deserve to end up like this. I would have collected myself rather then it resulting like this. I would hope people would now stop posting pictures and speculating about my horse. I’m devastated that they decided to carry out their actions without my consent.”
An RSPCA spokeswoman said: “An RSPCA inspector attended the scene in Raskelf last night and into the early hours of this morning to assist police with their ongoing investigation into the death of a horse.
“We will continue to offer our assistance where required but the matter is being led by North Yorkshire Police and anyone with information should contact them directly.”
Today, social media users were aghast at the crime, which has echoes of a scene from the movie The Godfather.
On the Facebook group page of York Equestrian, a user posted a picture of Kit, with the message: “Rest in peace beautiful horse, you didn’t deserve to be murdered and abused in such a cruel, callous way.”
Commenting on Facebook, Sacha Bailey Myers said: “This breaks my heart. I am so deeply sorry for Becky’s loss and I sincerely hope justice is given.”