AMERICAN FALLS — The death of a mustang mare that was killed in Power County early Sunday morning comes almost one year after a Shetland pony was dragged, beaten, tortured and mutilated in nearby Rupert.
Dee, a 6-year-old bay horse, was being cared for at A Little Piece of Heaven Horse Rescue, located on Fish Hatchery Road just outside American Falls. She was part of a band of wild horses rescued from slaughter in Washington and she had been at the preserve in Power County for about 10 days.
The mare had been adopted and her new owner was set to pick her up later that day. Dee would have delivered a foal next month.
Kim Clark and her family operate the horse rescue and she said the mustang sustained a deep wound to her gut and trauma to her face that shattered her nasal cavities.
Clark has lived on the 90-acre ranch for the past five years and said she has never had a problem with any of the wild horses on her property prior to the attack Sunday.
On Sept. 5, 2015, Patches, an aging Shetland pony, was tied behind a vehicle and dragged down a road for more than a mile.
When the little horse was found the following day, his eyes were swollen shut from being beat with a blunt object and he was barely able to stand. His genitals were also cut off.
Minidoka County Sheriff Eric Snarr said his office followed dozens of leads, but no arrest has been made in connection to the assault on the little pony.
Last year, Snarr said he believed that at least two people were involved in the attack.
Patches belonged to Hugo and Daniela Lopez and he was a friend to most of the neighborhood children.
The Humane Society of the United States is offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to the identification, arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for the savage attack and an online fundraiser garnered $45,000 in reward money.
In a press release, Lisa Kauffman, Idaho director of the Humane Society of the United States, called the attack one of the worst that she had ever seen.
“Patches was an aging pony who was a neighborhood favorite with the local children. To be beaten, tortured, mutilated and then left to die in immense pain is the work of an individual you want behind bars,” Kauffman stated in the Sept. 11, 2015 press release. “You do not want this person living next to you or in your community.”
The brutality of the crime would merit a first-offense felony conviction, but Kauffman said animal cruelty in Idaho is a misdemeanor unless it’s the person’s third offense.
While the Lopez family can never replace their beloved pet, members of the Snake River Bros motorcycle club donated two miniature horses to the family a month after the brutal attack on Patches.
The club partnered with Bull Creek Minis of Richfield to get the ponies and Valley Country Store donated halters and lead ropes.
“I grew up with horses, and I know what they mean to kids,” said Snake River Bros president Clint Tremelling of Twin Falls.
Snarr said last week that he still holds out hope that there will be an arrest in the case.