One local resident near Draperstown, Co. Derry, Teresa McKenna, was stunned when she stumbled upon the corpse of a horse, as reported in the Belfast Telegraph.
Teresa, who herself keeps horses, described her discovery as both “horrific” and “heartbreaking”, while she also found two more dead horses at the site on the Glenedra road in the area.
"We have found three dead bodies so far on the land...They are lying in the field. I was physically sick when I saw them.”, said Teresa.
Six other horses are believed to have been abandoned at the site, with one of the casualties only dying a few days prior.
"One of the horses had only died in the last couple of days...It had actually dug its own grave.”, she said.
"It looked like it had thrashed about for days, trying to get the strength to get up, that it had dug a hole for itself in the muck...The poor animal has suffered and had the most horrific death.”, she continued.
The local resident spoke of not being able to sleep as a result of her discovery and said whoever dumped the animals in the area, knew they wouldn’t be noticed.
"Whoever dumped them here knew that they would not be seen from the road and not notice if they were emaciated.”, she said.
"My children and I came up here earlier with some feed and attracted six more horses down to us...They (the horses) are in a horrific state. Some of them look like they are literally on their last legs.", she added.
Teresa noted that this is not a new problem to the area, with horse dealers known to ‘dump’ horses in the area every year to graze.
"Every year around May time these so-called horse dealers are dumping animals on this mountain to 'fly graze'," she noted.
"Year after year the horses and ponies dumped here die or we have to go seeking help to rescue them.”, she added.
She called for animal welfare laws to be made stricter to stop incidents like these from occurring and said fly grazing should not be allowed to continue.
"It's ridiculous that this is allowed to continue. Fly grazing is a massive problem in this country...It's where horse dealers just cut open a fence or open a gate, put their horses into forestry land and walk away...Something needs to be done.”,she stated.
"There needs to be stricter animal welfare laws….There needs to be more of a deterrent for people doing this. Animal welfare and police take it to prosecution level and it costs the taxpayer a fortune and all they get is a slap on the wrist.”, she added.
The PSNI were on site after receiving the report of dead horses, with inquiries ongoing. Meanwhile, the Causeway Coast and Glens Council have also confirmed that their animal welfare officer is also on site.