Warning: This article contains images some may find distressing.
A vet says the horrific attack on an Otago miniature horse was the worst case of animal cruelty he's ever seen.
On Monday, police were notified of the attack on Star, 10, after a man walking past his Waitati paddock heard distressed noises.
He found a trail of blood leading down the road, which led him to Star, who had been untethered and stabbed 41 times.
- 'Horrific': Miniature horse stabbed 40 times in Otago paddock
- Miniature horse dies after being stabbed more than 40 times
The horse was rushed to the Otago Equine Hospital in Mosgiel where he underwent a five-hour operation.
Sadly, Star failed to recover from the vicious attack and died from a perforated bowel overnight.
"They'd been inflicted by a knife in what would only be described as a frenzied attack on a defenceless animal," says Otago Equine Hospital vet Peter Gillespie.
"I've been in practice for 39 years and I've never seen anything like this."
The SPCA is bewildered why someone would carry out such a savage attack.
"You have to think that or summise that maybe it's mental health issues, or anger management issues, or drugs," SPCA CEO Andrea Midgen.
Police have launched a criminal investigation and urge anyone with any information to get in touch with their local station. They believe Star was attacked around midnight on Sunday.
"We look to hold the person or persons to account because we all have pets, and it's not acceptable in any way shape or form," says Dunedin Police Senior Sergeant Craig Dinnissen.
Star had been part of the family in Waitati for ten years, and they told Newshub that they are devastated by Star's death.
A Givealittle was set up help Star's owner grapple with a huge vet bill.
The fundraiser describes the stabbing as a "horrific incident in a peaceful community".
"As well as dealing with a traumatised horse, [the owner's] children are distraught and [she] faces an enormous vet bill, which will be in the thousands."
So far, more than $5600 has been raised for Star.
The family say that they appreciate all the support that has been given at this difficult time.