A DEAD horse has been left rotting in a stream at a Hampshire beauty spot for five days, the Daily Echo can reveal.
The gruesome discovery was reported to police by a dog walker last Thursday – but the corpse was still there this morning.
Residents fear it could contaminate Monks Brook, which flows into the River Itchen at Woodmill in Southampton.
The horse is lying in the water next to Lakeside Country Park in Eastleigh.
It was found by Maureen Brown while she was walking her two dogs.
Mrs Brown, 48, of Chamberlayne Road, Eastleigh, was left so shocked she burst into tears.
She said: “I just noticed this great big white and brown thing in the stream. I couldn’t believe it was a horse. I cried when I saw it. I love animals and seeing that left me shocked.”
Other visitors to Lakeside Country Park were also disgusted that the horse had not been removed.
Theresa Denness, 48, from Eastleigh regularly walks her dog in that area. She said: “It is disgusting and worrying. What if the horse is contaminated?
“If I had made that discovery I would have been in a state of shock. It is saddening it has been left there for so long.”
Another dog walker Susie Morriss, 30, from Eastleigh, added: “It is horrible. I have never seen anything like that before here.”
Police said they had sent officers to the scene but they had determined that no crime had been committed.
A police spokesman said: “We appreciate this may cause concern for local people, however there are no further police lines of inquiry.”
He added that the police had contacted Eastleigh Borough Council, the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the Environment Agency and the RSPCA but none have been able to help.
When contacted by the Daily Echo, the Environment Agency, which is responsible for the UK’s rivers, said it was unable to comment on whether the carcass was a health hazard. It added that it was the responsibility of the landowner to remove it.
According to Eastleigh Borough Council the land where the dead horse is lying is private.
A spokesman said: “Police and the fire service are discussing ways to remove the horse and it is on private land and not the council’s responsibility.”
An RSPCA spokesman said: “If anyone has any information on how this horse came to be lying in the stream in the park could they please call our inspector investigation line on 0300 123 8018 where you can leave a message in confidence.”