A MULE that had been rescued and saved from neglect has been stabbed in an "evil" attack.

"Loving and gentle" Tommy, who was brought to Undercliff Pony Rescue, in Rye, after a lifetime of neglect, was stabbed in the face with a serrated blade on Monday.

The wound was so extreme that it punctured his cheek with the blade going into his jaw and teeth, owner Sharon Baker said.

She now fears that the lasting mental damage from the attack will be even more severe.

Sharon said: "Some evil excuse for a human being stabbed Tommy in the face with a serrated blade.

The Argus: Tommy was stabbed in the faceTommy was stabbed in the face

'The wound was so extreme that it went right through his cheek and into his jaw and teeth.

"The visible wounds are extreme, and we fear the damage we can’t see will be even more severe in the long term.

"It’s going to take a huge amount of work to get him right again, and we are devastated by this.

"The vet attended on Monday and spend a couple of hours stitching him up and administering antibiotics, sedatives and various other medications.

"The bill is going to be hefty for the treatment that Tommy has had, and the treatment he will require over coming months, so we desperately need as much help as we can get!"

Undercliff Pony Rescue works to save ponies and horses from neglect and mistreatment, rehabilitating them to regain human trust.

However, this is not the first time the animals have been attacked. In a separate incident, perpetrators were caught throwing rocks at the horses.

Sharon added: "Any funds over and above what is required for the veterinary bill will go towards CCTV for the fields so that we have both a deterrent and evidence should anything else occur.

"Thank you all for your kind words and continuing support of Undercliff Pony Rescue."

The rural crime team is asking people to come forward if they have any information in relation to the incident where a rescue mule has been subject to a vicious attack, requiring veterinary care and sedation.

PC Carlo Leone from the Rural Crime Team said: “Not only has this been a cruel attack on a helpless animal, but has caused a significant cost to the rescue charity who care for Tommy.

“We believe this to be an isolated incident but urge all equine owners in the area to review their security and stay vigilant.

"Anyone who has any information which could help our investigation please report online or call 101 quoting serial 620 of 09/08."