A ‘DRAGGED and beaten’ horse has been re-homed by the RSPCA and its safety is down to the power of social media.

Both the police in Bridport and RSPCA are appealing for witnesses after social media reports that the animal was tied to the back of a vehicle, dragged along and then beaten by two men when it fell.

The incident happened last Wednesday at around 7pm in Alexandra Road, Bridport.

Officers put out appeals on social media urging the public to help them locate the horse.

And thanks to a 'phenomenal' response, it has been found.

An RSPCA spokesman said the horse has now been moved to a safe location with a new owner – who does not wish to be identified.

“The horse has been checked over by a vet and is ‘absolutely fine’ said the spokesman.

Bridport Police Inspector Mike Darby said no-one had been charged yet but the people they believe involved had been questioned.

He said: “We will not tolerate mistreatment of animals and will be pursuing the matter.

“We will be taking any opportunities to pursue matters where people are reported abusing animals.”

A spokesman for Dorset Police added: “We would urge anyone in the community to come forward and allow evidence by means of a statement to be taken and allow the RSPCA inspectors and Dorset Police ensure the people responsible for this are held to account.

“I would like to thank all followers who ‘shared, liked’ and forwarded the article about the horse.

“All the relevant comments and messages we had will be shared with the RSPCA and acted on. If anyone has any images of the incident that they may have captured via smartphone please contact us.”

An RSPCA spokesman said it was important witnesses contacted the RSPCA with information and witness accounts so it could build a case for prosecution.

“We need the evidence to be able to take this further,” said the spokesman.

"This was clearly a horrible incident and a horrific way to treat an animal.

"We need to hear from anyone who has any information." Residents spoke of their shock to hear of the incident.

Town councillor Sarah Williams said: “I would say an incident like this is very unusual.

“I have never heard of anything like this.

“Anybody who has any information, please pass it on to the police.

“Animal cruelty is a horrible crime.”

Anyone who may have images or video footage of the incident should call Dorset Police on 101 quoting 02:421 or the RSPCA in confidence on 0300 1234 999.