Suspect wanted in drive-by horse killing

Published 10:50 pm Friday, January 3, 2014

Horse owners in Decatur County came home to a sight they never dreamed of seeing when they purchased their horses years ago.
When resident Nikki Dollar pulled into her driveway on Vada Road before sunrise Friday morning ­— after working her usual night shift at the hospital — she found her horse of more than 16 years lying on the ground suffering from a gunshot wound.
“It appeared when we arrived that the horse had a gunshot wound to the muzzle and it appears to have been made by a high-powered rifle,” Investigator with the Decatur County Sheriff’s Department, Redell Walton said. “It was a through-and-through shot, meaning (the bullet) went in one side and out the other.”
Investigators said they did not know how the horse was shot, but suspect someone shot the horse from the road, possibly from inside a vehicle.
Investigators described the bloody scene where they found the horse as “graphic,” and noted the wound was the size of a softball.
“I don’t think anyone could have mistaken the horse for a deer,” Walton said. “We think this could have been intentional.”
Dollar said upon finding the horse in the field, she had to make a tough decision. She  had to decide to put down the horse because it was in pain, not dying directly after the shot, though bleeding was severe. Saving the horse would have cost the family thousands and it had been suffering greatly.
“I don’t know if someone is just being stupid, or cruel or mean or immature … I don’t understand why anyone would shoot a horse,” Dollar said.
The horse that was shot, she said, had a darker color and wouldn’t have been mistaken as a deer.
She and her family own three other horses on their Vada Road property, as well as other farm animals like goats, chickens and a donkey.
Her greatest fear is that the suspect will do the same crime again.
“I just hope they don’t do this to someone else,” Dollar said.
Dollar had the horse for more than 15 years and through tears, reminisced on her relationship with the horse, going on trail rides in places like Silver Lake and Dublin.
“She was an Appaloosa horse — so she had human-looking eyes, you could see the whites,” Dollar said. “So when they look at you, they look like humans.
Investigators are asking anyone who was in the area of Vada Road who saw anything suspicious either late Thursday night or early Friday morning to contact the Decatur County Sheriff’s Department. If any vehicles were spotted on the side of the road, contact (229) 248-3044 or Investigator Walton at (229) 400-8014.

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