A foal which was doused in inflammable liquid and set on fire is in a “very bad way”.
The defenceless animal, called Angus, was attacked in Pinxton while his owner, six-year-old Logan Appleby, was on holiday with his family.
Kayleigh Appleby, Logan’s mother, said he “burst into tears” when he came home and saw five-month-old Angus’s condition.
The family only adopted Angus a few weeks ago – after he was rescued from neglect.
She said: “We’re all just absolutely horrified at what’s happened.
“Whoever did this is inhumane and I hope they either hand themselves in or are caught as soon as possible.
“Why would anyone do this to a defenceless animal?”
The shocking crime happened in a field off Alexander Terrace sometime between the evening of Monday, August 17 and the morning of Wednesday, August 19.
Angus was being looked after by a neighbour while the family was on holiday.
The animal suffered serious burns to his nose, face and front legs.
He is still being treated by a vet and thankfully his burns are healing.
But Kayleigh said: “His legs are so weak.
“He’s falling down and can’t get back up.
“He’s in a very bad way and I feel so sorry for him
“I thought about putting him to sleep – he’s lost so much weight because he’s stressed – but he’s eating well.
“The vet says he’ll be OK with some tender love and care which is what we’re giving him.”
PCSO Becky Davis, of Derbyshire police, added: “He’s fighting for his life and I’m appealing for help to catch whoever did this to the defenceless animal.”
Witnesses or anyone with information should call Derbyshire police on 101, Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or the RSPCA on 0300 1234 999.