Warning: This article contains images some may find distressing.
A traumatised miniature horse is recovering after it was stabbed more than 40 times in an Otago paddock.
On Monday police were notified of the attack on Star, 10, who lives in the seaside settlement of Waitati near Dunedin.
A man was walking his dog past Star's paddock on the corner of Brown St and Pitt St when he heard the sound of a distressed horse.
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He found a trail of blood leading down the road, which led him to Star who had been untethered and stabbed 41 times. The puncture wounds just missed his jugular and spine, and he lost a lot of blood.
Miraculously the horse survived his injuries, and was rushed to the Otago Equine Hospital in Mosgiel where he underwent a lifesaving five-hour operation.
Police believe Star was attacked around midnight on Sunday.
"Subsequent vet assessment has revealed the injuries to the horse appear to have been caused by a blade or similar," a spokesperson told Newshub.
An investigation has been opened and police urge anyone with any information to get in touch with their local station.
A Givealittle has been set up to 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.