A donkey has been slashed across its nose in a second vicious attack on a rescue animal near Yatton Keynell.

Philip Parish, who owns the field in West Sevington, said he believes someone has struck Hector the donkey with a piece of wood embedded with nails.

The donkey was taken in by his friend when the previous owner became too sick to look after him.

On Sunday morning Hector was found walking about with a messy-looking nose.

“He didn’t want to go to anybody, he kept walking away and turning his head, traumatised. Some vindictive person is having a go,” said Mr Parish, 53.

“Someone’s got a screw loose, to attack an animal like that.”

The incident overnight on Saturday was the latest in a series of intrusions in the field, where about a dozen rescued horses are being looked after.

Mr Parish said the donkey tended to act as a guard dog and would have challenged an intruder. They had had a lot of deer stolen and an attack on the side of a caravan had left four inch-long nail marks.

“I wouldn’t mind betting something similar has been used on that donkey,” he said.

Six weeks ago, a brutal attack with a sharp implement left a racehorse with a cracked eye socket, cuts to the eyelids, slashed legs and damage to the inside of the nose.

“We found him in the morning covered in blood,” said Mr Parish.

“He’s been quite low and miserable for a month. It’s had an effect on its health.

“In a lot of cases the horses here were abused before. This one was full of worms and as thin as a rake.

"It was a toss-up between coming here and having to be put down. No one could get within ten yards, it was extremely dangerous, but after nine months of eating hay here it is approachable.”

Police are investigating the offences and the RSPCA has been informed.

Anyone who has seen any vehicles in the area or anyone acting suspiciously is asked to call Chippenham Police on 101.