The carcasses of dozens of animals have been discovered rotting on a farm in the North, a welfare worker said today.
Some were decomposed beyond identification with dogs, miniature goats, chickens and geese included in the death toll.
The Ulster Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (USPCA) said the scene at Littleacre Open Farm, Loughbrickland, Co Down was horrific.
Welfare officer Martin Dobbin said: “We were horrified by the number of dead and decomposing animals.
“Some of the animals we saw were unrecognisable.”
The USPCA was alerted by visitors who saw dead animals outside.
When officials forced locked doors they made the gruesome discovery. Nobody has been arrested but police are aware of the matter.
Mr Dobbin added: “This would be one of the worst cases I have seen.
“The sheer neglect and poor animal husbandry that went on, I would be surprised if this Littleacre Open Farm was still in existence after today.”
Hamsters were among the other dead animals.
More than 100 living creatures were removed. Roosters, pheasants and a llama are among those being transported to USPCA shelters.
Mr Dobbin added: “It was the sheer volume of calls about these animals that alerted us.
“Certainly animals were in outbuildings behind lock and key, they didn’t do it themselves and while they were behind lock and key they can’t feed themselves, we can only surmise that the animals died through neglect or starvation.”
The USPCA is still on the farm removing animals.