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Who would do this to a horse?
A three-year-old gelding and a six-year-old mare are the latest crime victims in what seems to be a national spree of crimes against horses. The older horse was killed and the younger has undergone lifesaving treatment at Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine's Large Animal Hospital in Lafayette, Indiana.
The shooting took place at a farm where the horses were boarded in Anderson, Indiana, according to news reports.
The video does a great job of explaining what Purdue's Dr. Richard Hartman is doing to help this horse. While it looks like the horse's vital organs were spared, the risk of infection from the superficial wounds and any bits of metal remaining are the next battle to fight.
It seems like crimes against innocent horses are showing up in the news more and more lately. There have been shootings, mutilations and odd offenses like cutting off manes or tails.
This might be a good time for us to stop and think about security for our horses, and how to discourage hostile strangers from endangering them. Boarding and breeding farms might want to meet with local police to learn about the best ways to report suspicious people seen around fences or in fields.
Most of us can't afford to install security cameras and electric gates, but there are plenty of low-tech things to do, like putting up signs and making it clear where the public is welcome on a farm--and where it is not. Asking boarders to be careful in who they invite to accompany them to the farm is a good move as well; often these stories turn into reports of spite crimes--someone deliberately injured a horse to cause emotional pain to the human who loved it.
Your farm can have an informal system for how to make note of who is on and off the property, or what the procedure should be if you see strangers in fields. Who wants to be rude to people out for a nice walk? No one. But a teenage drinking party in the woods behind a farm is a recipe for disaster.
Learn to notice car tracks in the snow or mud, and keep an eye on fencelines where someone may have pushed over a fencepost or clipped a wire to get access.
A farm where I kept a horse had a lot of teenage parties late at night in the woods. One day we thought there was a major crime going on: it turned out to be someone stealing horse manure from the pile for his perennial garden. But he still didn't belong there and if he'd asked, it wouldn't have been a problem.
This time of year, there are a lot of deer and duck hunters criss-crossing property. It's an important time to remember to keep checking gates and fences. On the positive side of things, a truck parked on the side of the road might belong to a hunter and not to someone out to enact a crime.
Keep your eyes open and your horses safe. Make friends with your local police. And thank goodness for vets like Dr. Hartman who can help horses like Sunny when they are injured.
If you have any information about the shooting, please contact the Anderson Greater Area CrimeStoppers at (765) 649-8310.