An animal lover, whose horse went missing from a Tongham field, has condemned Surrey Police for failing to check the identity of a horse killed on a nearby road before it was incinerated.
Jemma Wellington, from Aldershot, may never know what happened to her beloved Lilfonz with police confirming they arranged the incineration.
Ms Wellington has launched a petition that has attracted more than 5,000 signatures, calling for a change in the law to force the police to conduct microchip scans on horses killed by cars before they are disposed of.
Ms Wellington, 26, called police on February 6 after discovering four-year-old Lilfonz was missing from his field off Grange Road in Tongham, with part of the fence destroyed.
She presumed the cob was in the hands of thieves until she saw a Facebook post by Surrey Police saying a horse had been hit by several vehicles and killed on the A331, part of which runs close to the field, the night before.
Distraught, she frantically tried to find out from Surrey Police whether the animal was hers, but they could not tell her.
Ms Wellington asked a vet to call at local slaughterhouses to check if any animals resembling hers had been brought in.
She was told on February 7 the body of a horse resembling Lilfonz had been delivered and incinerated.
Because no microchip scan was conducted before incineration, she faces the prospect of never knowing for certain what happened to her horse.
“It’s a nightmare,” she said. “It’s gone past anger now; I have never felt so hurt and upset. We are required to spend all this money to get our horses microchipped, but what’s the point if no one checks?”
Ms Wellington said scanning a horse’s microchip was a simple task that takes two or three minutes with a handheld device. She wants each force to be issued with scanners to avoid her experience being repeated with other owners.
“I am still begging the police to see if they took any pictures of the incident so I can see if it was my boy, but they said the officers are on rest days at the moment, then busy in court.
“I still don’t know for sure that it was Lilfonz. I may never know.”
Ms Wellington believes the fence in the Grange Road field was broken by vandals. She also found crowbar marks on the fencing and lorry track marks by the side of the A331, leading her to suspect the horse might have been the victim of a botched theft.
She had nurtured the orphaned animal since it was one-hour old, and had been keeping him purely as a pet.
Surrey Police said this week it was carrying out enquiries to determine who owned the stricken horse, but acknowledged the animal had been "removed and incinerated" on February 5.