GARDAI are investigating a disturbing case of animal cruelty where two horses were shot in the neck with a high-calibre rifle.
The animals were killed in the callous attack, which appears to have been carried out from a nearby roadway.
The horses were among about 160 abandoned and feral horses, which graze on the Slieve Aughty mountains in Co Galway.
Members of the Forgotten Horses organisation, who monitor the horses with the aim of rehousing them, came across the bodies on Saturday. They were shocked to find the two young horses, shot in the neck, within yards of each other.
It is understood that the animals did not die instantly but were left to die as a result of their injuries.
"We think it happened in the past few weeks. We have no idea who would do this, it seems to have been some sort of sport," said Mary Corbett of Forgotten Horses.
Ms Corbett urged anyone with information to contact gardai immediately.
Gort gardai are investigating the shootings. The Department of Agriculture is also involved and the animals have been removed from the site.