Police confirm they have 'people of interest' in investigation into horrific Otago pony death

Police have told 1 NEWS there are "people of interest" in the investigation into the death of the pony stabbed in a small Otago town last week.

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Dunedin Police Senior Sergeant Craig Dinnissen spoke to reporters today. Source: 1 NEWS

The miniature pony, Star, died on February 17th after being stabbed 41 times in Waitati.

Senior Sergeant Craig Dinnissen said detectives had “people of interest, but nothing substantial yet."

Ten-year-old Star was attacked near the corner of Brown and Pitt streets in Waitati, Dunedin, around midnight late Sunday evening or early Monday morning, police believe.

Despite a five-hour surgery to try and save the animal, one of the stab wounds punctured the horse's bowel and he died.

More than one assailant is believed to be responsible, Otago Equine Hospital veterinarian Peter Gillespie told the Otago Daily Times.

"The attack was initially thought to be caused by another animal but once checked by a vet it was established the wounds were inflicted by a sharp instrument and we changed the course of our inquiry," police told 1 NEWS in a statement.

"Alongside our investigation we have been supporting the victim and her family and talking with community leaders to keep them informed and updated on progress," the statement continued.

Anyone who was in the area late Sunday and early Monday last week or who saw or heard anything unusual, is asked to contact Dunedin Police on (03) 471 4800, or anonymously through Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.