NORTH HARWICH — The brutal attack on a 7-year-old Welsh pony overnight Saturday has left the horse with life-threatening injuries and local equestrians and supporters angry and afraid.
Police say sometime late Saturday night or early Sunday morning, one or more perpetrators entered the barn at CB Equestrian on Derby Lane off Old Chatham Road and let four horses out of their stalls. The subject then apparently broke off the handle from a pitchfork, which was found jammed in the animal’s backside, emerging underneath near its groin.
The horse, named Scottie, was found conscious but still impaled Sunday morning. Unable to move the animal with the handle still in place, a veterinarian removed the object at the scene before transporting the horse for emergency surgery off-site.
Remarkably, as of early this week, Scottie appeared to be recovering well. The horse is now being treated with antibiotics and being monitored for signs of infection. If the trajectory of the handle had been slightly different, the animal would likely have died.
Owned by a couple from Marstons Mills, Scottie did not appear to have been specifically targeted from among the other horses. Most likely, it was attacked because of its docile, trusting nature, Harwich Police Sgt. Aram Goshgarian said.
“The other horses would’ve run away,” he said.
As of Tuesday, no arrests had been made in the case. Police are asking the public to come forward with any information about the crime and have asked any nearby residents who may have security cameras to make the footage available to investigators. Tipsters should contact Det. Sgt. Bob Brackett at 508-430-7541.
“It’s a serious crime and there is an active police investigation to try and determine who is responsible,” Goshgarian said. The specific charges have not yet been determined, but the offense was a felony, he said.
Though it is not yet known whether the attack was random or targeted, horse owners around the region have stepped up security around their farms, and are rallying to support Scottie’s owners and the owner of CB Equestrian, Clarie Bangert.
“Our community is a great one,” Bangert said. Some people and businesses have brought meals and offerings of support, and a security firm is now providing patrols of the property. A new security system is also in place. The attack has left other members of the equestrian community afraid for their horses, she added.
“I informed as many local barn owners as I could come up with yesterday,” Bangert said, and many had taken steps to improve security.
Rural North Harwich, which has many barns with horses and is usually quite dark at night, has undergone a change, Goshgarian said.
“Every single one of them had turned on lights,” he said. “It has generated a lot of attention in the horse community. Some people have installed cameras, and others are just keeping an extra eye on their animals. Light is a good deterrent.”
Some postings on social media claim to identify a perpetrator in the attack, but police say they have made no arrests as of yet. In a post on Facebook, Bangert warned against people jumping to conclusions.
“At this time, we do not know who did this and speculation is not helpful,” she wrote.
On Monday morning, people had contributed a few hundred dollars to an online fundraiser to support Scottie’s recovery and security. By Tuesday morning, the campaign had already raised more than its $25,000 goal.
Bangert said the local equestrian community, already a close one, has come together in the wake of the attack.
“We move forward,” she said.
As of early this week, Scottie was said to be perky, hungry and medically stable, even as authorities continue the investigation.
“We are actively pursuing a couple of leads on this case and we are taking it very seriously,” Brackett said. “We find it very disturbing.”