Owners who are struggling to feed their animals in hard times are being urged to seek help after two dead horses were found dumped at the side of the road.

The animals were discovered at different locations over the past month by officials from Epping Forest District Council, leading environment portfolio holder Will Breare-Hall to raise the matter at a meeting tonight.

He said: “Our belief is that it’s probably the case that they are horses that no-one can look after because there’s no clearly visible sign as to how they’ve died.

“Their owners have dumped them rather than paying to have them destroyed.”

One horse was found at Banks Lane in Theydon Mount, which runs through woodland and farmers’ fields, and another was at School Road in Stanford Rivers, about a mile down the road.

Cllr Breare-Hall said there were no clues as to who had left the horses.

He added: “There was nothing at all that would allow us to identify the horses or the owners and I assume the people who dumped them knew that.

“Anybody who is struggling to look after an animal needs to seek professional help from a body such as the RSPCA.”

Although the horses were not on Epping Forest land, a dead donkey was among the waste dealt with by rangers there last year.

Cllr Breare-Hall is due to tell councillors about the grisly finds during a meeting of the full council, which will be held at its Epping High Street chamber tonight from 7.30pm.