Law enforcement authorities in North Carolina are hoping the public can help them identify those responsible for tying a malnourished horse to a tree and leaving it for dead.

Columbus County Animal Control Manager Joey Prince said that during the weekend of Feb. 20-21 deputies from the Columbus County Sheriff’s Department responded to a call from a passerby who reported finding a dead horse tied to a tree in a rural area near the Robeson/Columbus county line.

From the appearance of the horse, it looks like the animals was tied to a tree and left to starve,” Prince said.

The horse had recently died, he said. Its age remains undetermined.

“I don’t think the horse was very old, but when they’re that emaciated, it’s hard to tell how old they are,” Prince said, adding that necropsy results will determine the horse’s age and confirm whether it had sustained any other injuries.

Animal Control is assisting the Columbus Sheriff’s Department in the probe of the case.

“We do have a few leads on which we are following up, but we are still seeking information form the public,” he said.

The horse was a bay with a white blaze (large star narrowing to the snip), a front right sock, and a hind left sock, and possibly a white hind-left pastern.

Anyone who has information about the incident should call 910/641-3945.