(La Porte, IN) - Two horses with a history in 4-H were not shot as originally suspected but La Porte County Police are still looking at foul play as a potential source of their major injuries.
“An act of violence may have occurred,” said La Porte County Police Captain Derek Allen.
Dawn Forney said a reward of at least $1,000 is being offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of whoever was responsible.
“Tanner,” a 14-year old buckskin quarter horse, was put down while “Vinnie,” a 13-year old tan quarter horse is recovering.
Forney said her 15-year old son, Brandon, and 10-year old daughter, Audrey, on May 31 went out into their 10 acre pasture near Kingsford Heights to bring the family’s six horses in for the night.
Tanner was laying on the ground while Vinnie was on all four legs but not moving.
Initially, Forney said a veterinarian who came out right away in the darkness believed the horses had been shot.
She said two other veterinarians looking at the horses in the daylight ruled blunt force trauma caused what looked like bullet holes at first.
Forney said an x-ray machine also revealed Tanner sustained a skull fracture from “eye to eye.”
She said Vinnie had a hole in his lip along with a seriously bruised shoulder leaving him barely able to walk for a while.
Vinnie is still on pain medication and antibiotics but making significant progress in his recovery, she said.
“He still hobbles around a little bit but he’s moving much better. He’s able to put his head down to the ground to eat grass. He couldn’t do that for several days,” she said.
Forney said she was even more disturbed at learning the horses were physically struck.
“That means whoever did this had to be close and that makes it even more worse to me,” she said.
Allen would not shed light or speculate on exactly how the injuries were
Inflicted since the case remained under investigation.
Anyone with information is asked to contact LaPorte County Police at (219) 326-7700.
“We have not ruled out this was not a felonious act,” Allen said.
Tanner was being prepared by Brandon to compete in the 4-H portion of this year’s La Porte County Fair prior to the fair recently being cancelled because of COVID-19.
Brandon, a member of the LaPorte High School Equestrian Team, has shown Tanner at various other competitions the past several years.
Tanner was reserve champion for his age bracket in the gelding class during the fair last year and earned first place during a Great Lakes Buckskin Association show two years ago.
Forney said her 20-year old son Jordan entered Vinnie in 4-H competitions as a teenager and helped train Tanner.
Jordan came up with the idea to offer a $200 reward.
Notice of the reward posted on his Facebook page generated donations which has raised the reward to more than $1,000.
Forney said anyone wanting to add to the reward can donate to the fund at La Porte Community Federal Credit Union.
If the case is not solved, Forney said she plans to donate the money to an organization involved with horses.