Animal welfare bosses are appealing for information after a horse was found with 20 per cent of his body covered in maggots.
A member of the public spotted the horse - described as a piebald Cob-type gelding - on land just off Stranglands Lane in Knottingley on October 8.
The horse was suffering from flystrike - which happens when flies lay their eggs on another animal and the eggs hatch into maggots which then eat the animal’s flesh.
Flies are attracted by soiled or wet fur and any wound, cut or scratch can be affected.
A vet was called to the scene and after an inspection the horse was put to sleep.
Ben Cassell, RSPCA inspector, said: “It was really grim. There were maggots literally dropping off this poor house.
“We think it probably started with an injury to his back left leg, which was very badly swollen, but the damage done by the maggots made it difficult to be sure.”
RSPCA inspectors believe that someone broke a fence to graze him on the land, which is owned by the Highways Agency.
Mr Cassell said: “The maggots were literally eating him alive. He was suffering a great deal.
“Horses should be checked over at least once a day and any nicks or graves treated to prevent this from happening and, of course, vet treatment should be sought immediately.”
Anyone with any information about the horse or who knows who it belongs to contact Ben Cassell on the RSPCA cruelty line on 0300 1234 999.
For more information on flystrike visit www.rspca.org.uk/allaboutanimals/helpandadvice/flystrike
To report animal cruelty you can call the RSPCA cruelty line on 03000 1234 999.
If you would like to donate to the charity visit www.rspca.org.uk