Society

'That's Cruel': Oregon Sheriff Allegedly Shot, Killed A Family's Healthy Pony

| by Lisa Fogarty

A family from Molalla, Oregon, is demanding answers after they say a sheriff shot and killed their beloved family miniature horse who, despite his old age, was healthy.

Crista Fitzgerald says her American Minature Horse, Gir, who was 30, escaped from his stall in the middle of the night on Feb. 18, reports KATU. She says she locked him in, as she always does, but that when she went to check on him at around 10 the next morning, he was gone.

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After checking in with their neighbors, Fitzgerald says she found Gir laying in one of her neighbor's yards. She says the horse was bleeding behind his cheekbones and was dead. When her neighbor came out, she reportedly told her she had called the sheriff, who put the horse down.

But the sheriff's office reportedly had a different story.

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"When I called the officer he said that he[Gir] had gotten out on the highway and gotten hit by a car and broke both of his back legs," Fitzgerald told KATU.

Clackamas County Sheriff Office spokesman Sgt. Nathan Thompson reportedly said the sheriff thought the horse had been run over and had broken his legs in the accident. He also reportedly said he believed the sheriff had consulted the Oregon Humane Society about euthanizing the horse, but a spokesperson from the organization reportedly told KATU they never received a phone call from the deputy.

A local veterinarian reportedly confirmed the deputy called the office to ask about euthanizing the horse and that the vet provided information, but the sheriff told him he would take care of it.

The details became even more murky after an autopsy report revealed that Gir had died from a gunshot, but hadn't suffered broken bones and that there was no evidence he had been hit by a car.

"If I had gone out and shot the pony I'd be in jail right now. That's cruel," Fitzgerald said, adding that she now has to explain to her children why their beloved horse is suddenly dead. 

Fitzgerald's husband has reportedly filed a complaint with the police department and an investigation is ongoing.

Source: KATU/Photo Credit: KATU