No motive found in Wake horse stabbings

Police continue to investigate attacks on six animals

amoody@newsobserver.comDecember 13, 2012 

  • Police seek assistance The Wake County Sheriff’s Office is seeking the public’s assistance in the animal cruelty cases that took place at 3613 Horsemint Trail and 6919 Winding Ridge Road in Zebulon. Anyone with information concerning the two incidents is asked to contact the Sheriff’s Office at 919-856-6800.

— About two weeks after six horses were stabbed at two local farms, the crime remains unsolved, and one horse owner is still asking herself why it happened.

“It’s basically unfathomable,” said Andrea Hayward, the owner of three of the animals that were attacked before dawn on Dec. 1.

Hayward keeps five horses at her farm off Mitchell Mill Road near N.C. 96. When she went out that Saturday morning to feed them, she found four had stab wounds in their hind quarters. She then saw people gathered in the pasture of her neighbor, Stephen Lloyd, across the road, where two more horses had been attacked.

“I’m still having a very hard time wrapping my head around who or what would do this,” Hayward said. “These are all very sweet, good-natured horses. What kind of monster would do this to them?”

Though the stabbings were not fatal, Hayward initially feared the worst for the oldest horse that was wounded at her farm – a 28-year-old thoroughbred named Maggie who is owned by Lorraine Balletta.

Hayward said the horses attacked at her property were treated by Neuse River Equine Hospital veterinarians.

News of the crime surprised Jennifer Malpass, the Triangle Region director of the U.S. Equine Rescue League.

“It’s not something that happens very much anywhere, much less here,” Malpass said.

“The things we typically deal with involve neglect. We did have one (horse) last year that had to be euthanized after it was beaten, but abuse is really rare.”

Hayward can’t think of a reason someone would want to hurt the horses at her farm. She’s been in her current location for about a year.

“I don’t know many people in the area,” she said. “Unfortunately it’s taken this heinous incident for me to meet the neighbors.”

The investigation into the stabbings continues, Phyllis Stephens, spokeswoman for the Wake County Sheriff’s Office, said last Thursday.

“There are no updates on it,” Stephens said. “If people know anything about this case, anything whatsoever, please call the Wake County Sheriff’s Office at 919-856-6800.”

In the meantime, Hayward urged other horse owners to keep a close watch on their surroundings.

“Whoever did this needs to be stopped,” she said. “The horses haven’t done anything to anybody. It doesn’t make any sense.”

The incident has cost Hayward about $2,000 in medical bills and equipment. Malpass said she plans to post a feature on the local Equine Rescue League’s website at www.userltriangle.org to help raise money on Hayward’s behalf.

Moody: 919-829-4806

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