A young foal has been killed in a horrifying act, which police believe may be linked to a Satanic cult ritual.
The body of the two-month-old foal was found on Yennadon Down, near Yelverton, by a horse-rider, who promptly called the South West Equine Protection (SWEP) charity.
The dead pony had been mutilated, with its genitals, right ear and tongue cut off, and its eyes gouged out. it is not known whether the animal was dead or alive when the mutilation took place.
It was laying in the remnants of a ring of fire after a full moon, and also had traces of white paint on one of its legs, leading police to believe it was part of a Satanic animal sacrifice ritual.
A spokesman for SWEP told This Is Plymouth it had heard rumours of 'ritualistic killings' of foals and sheep in Dartmoor during certain phases of the moon.
He said: "We are aware the previous evening a celestial event known as a super moon or stag moon took place. This is when the full moon coincides with its closest approach to the Earth, resulting in the moon appearing larger. We do not know if the desecration and mutilation of this foal took place when he was alive or once he was dead or how many people were involved.
"If the foal was still alive and not properly sedated these actions would have caused extreme pain, suffering and distress."
Karla McKechnie, Dartmoor's Livestock Protection Officer, said she believed "witches or devil worshippers" were involved. She told the Daily Telegraph: "We do get strange things happening from time to time, normally when it's a full moon.
"I suspect its witches or devil worshippers but it's always hard to get to the bottom of it."
Jenny Thornton, from SWEP, said she believed Dartmoor ponies were easy targets as they had become used to being fed by humans.
Speaking to the Daily Mail, she described the incident as "horrendous", adding: "The belly has been sliced open. It's a boy and its genitals had been cut off. The tongue had been pulled out and his eyes are missing.
"There have always been rumours of animal sacrifices and sheep have been found dead in the past, often around the time of a full moon.
"All we can be absolutely certain of is that someone has caused unnecessary suffering to an animal, possibly severe suffering if it was still alive at the time."
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