ANIMAL protection officers have made fresh appeals for information following the shocking discoveries of mutilated dead animals in the Monmouthshire countryside.

In both cases, groups of dismembered animals had been left out on display at or near popular routes for ramblers and dog-walkers on the outskirts of Chepstow.

The RSPCA is investigating the possibility the incidents are linked, given the proximity of the finds and the similarities of the wounds inflicted on the animals.

In February, three foxes were found laid out neatly with their abdomens slit in a field near Chepstow Garden Centre.

Just a few weeks earlier, a pile of wild animals had been discovered dumped in woodland a few hundred metres away. Some of those animals had also been butchered.

(WARNING: both stories contain graphic images)

Despite the clearly upsetting nature of the incidents, they may not constitute crimes – RSPCA officers are not certain of the way in which the animals were killed, there are legal means of killing the animals involved.

But the brazen, grisly way in which the remains were mutilated and then left on public display means the RSPCA are determined to find out who was responsible.

"These were certainly shocking discoveries to make, with wild animals found dead amid a scene from a horror film,” RSPCA inspector David Milborrow said.

"However, we have no evidence to suggest the killings were a consequence of any animal welfare offence – but would welcome more information.

"We're hoping someone will come forward with details about how these killings happened, or who may be responsible.”


At least one of the incidents was reported to the police, an RSCPA spokesman told the South Wales Argus, but the case was handed to the animal protection charity because the criminal element of the incidents is unclear.

Different laws apply to different species. Foxes can be killed legally by hunters, and any foxes caught in snares or traps must, by law, be killed humanely.

But this has not prevented the RSPCA’s concerns over the discovery of the three dead foxes on February 20, with one welfare officer at the time calling the circumstances of the deaths and subsequent mutilations “very suspicious”.

The organisation suspects there could be a link between the dead foxes and the various remains found just one field away, in Hayesgate, on January 1.

In that discovery, which the RSPCA said was “like a horror film”, ducks, geese, a bird of prey, and the remains of more than one deer were found strewn across the ground. One deer had been beheaded.

Again, these animals can in most cases be hunted and killed legally, and there was no evidence to suggest they had been killed to the contrary – but the barbaric nature in which their remains were treated and disposed of has alarmed the RSPCA.

A working theory at the time, given the scene’s proximity to the A48, was that the animals had been dumped from a vehicle after being poached or killed for sport or entertainment.

The discoveries have shocked the public, with members of a Chepstow community Facebook group calling the incidents “worrying”, “barbaric”, and an “embarrassment to the local community.”

In a statement, Gwent Police said: "These incidents are cruel, upsetting and pose a public health risk.

"We would urge anyone with information about those responsible or any vehicles used, to come forward.

"Gwent Police’s rural crime team is working closely with the RSPCA, which is leading the investigation, and will continue to share information and resources in an effort to identify those responsible and bring them to justice.

"If you can help, please contact us on 101, direct message us on Facebook or Twitter, or contact the RSPCA."

The RSPCA’s inspectorate appeal line on 0300 123 8018.