A FAMILY were left devastated when their horse died after eating grass cuttings which had been put into its Hampton Bishop field.

Zoe Mannion, the owner of Frank, who was a Irish draught cross thoroughbred, was left 'utterly devastated' after he died three days after eating grass cuttings.

"I'm totally heartbroken and utterly devastated, nothing is going to bring my boy back but hopefully raising more awareness (of the danger of grass cuttings) might save others," said Zoe.

"He was a gentleman, who was not just my best friend, but had also become my 14-year-old daughter's horse. So it’s broken both our hearts."

Hereford police have warned county residents of the damage which grass cuttings can cause to animals.

They state that the grass cuttings begin fermenting almost as soon as they are cut and the horses will gorge on them as they are so palatable, causing a build-up of gas in the Horses stomach.

"As horses have a one-way stomach valve, they are unable to vomit or even burp to relieve the pressure," police said. "The gases given off by the fermenting cuttings can expand to the point where they rupture the stomach, causing an agonising death."

Police also state that grass cuttings that have been finely chopped up are also a choking hazard as horses do not need to chew as much or at all before swallowing the grass.

This results in the horse gorging on the pile of cuttings and therefore eating large amounts very quickly.

"The cuttings can compact and become lodged in the horse’s throat, causing them to choke," added the police.

Police also warn that plants which are poisonous to horses could be mowed up along with the grass cuttings which may cause the horse additional harm. Police added: "Depending on the plant, the range of problems include severe diarrhoea, liver damage, collapse or even death.

"Although feeding horses may seem harmless, your kindness may kill!"