An Oregon family is demanding answers after a sheriff’s deputy seemingly shot and killed their pony for no reason whatsoever.
According to Crista Fitzgerald, owner of 30-year-old “Gir,” an American miniature horse, the family began looking for the animal on the morning of February 18 after it appeared to have escaped from its stall.
“I locked his stall door, and I always do a double check,” Fitzgerald told KATU News. “The next morning I came back out before I had class in the morning, which is around 10, and he was gone.”
Fitzgerald says she immediately began searching the surrounding area in an attempt to find Gir, discovering him close by at the neighbors house.
“We started knocking door-to-door. And the first house we came to he was laying in their yard,” she said.
Assuming the pony was merely taking a nap, Fitzgerald approached and was horrified to find blood coming out of Gir’s face.
“We walked up closer and I bent down to pet him, and that’s when I saw the pool of blood behind his cheek bones,” she recalled. “The neighbor came out and told us she had called the sheriff’s department and they put him down.”
Shocked, Fitzgerald picked up her phone and called the sheriff’s office in an attempt to find answers.
“When I called the officer he said that he had gotten out on the highway and gotten hit by a car and broke both of his back legs,” she explained.
Speaking with KATU News, Clackamas County Sheriff Office spokesman Sgt. Nathan Thompson stated that the deputy had called the Oregon Humane Society to consider handing over the pony for euthanasia before shooting it in the face.
After contacting the Oregon Human Society, KATU News discovered that the alleged phone call was never actually made.
The deputy did however contact a local veterinarian, stating that he would “take care of the problem on his own” despite the vet offering assistance.
Learning of the deputy’s lies, Fitzgerald says she was stunned into silence.
“There wasn’t very much I could say at that point because they shot the pony,” she said. “I mean, I didn’t know how to react.”
Even more astonishing, Fitzgerald’s vet stated that Gir had “absolutely nothing” wrong with him prior to the shooting.
Suspecting even more lies from the sheriff’s department, Fitzgerald sent the pony to Oregon State University’s veterinarian lab for an autopsy.
University vets confirmed that Gir’s only injuries were from the deputy’s handgun. In fact, the vets made specific note of the pony’s “excellent body condition,” again dispelling claims about Gir’s alleged broken legs.
“If I had gone out and shot the pony I’d be in jail right now,” Fitzgerald said. “That’s cruel.”
In response to the family’s outcry, the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office confirmed an investigation would be launched into Gir’s death.
“He was part of our family… There’s no way to replace him,” Fitzgerald added.
Given the deputy’s apparent dishonesty, the incident may just be the most brazen case of animal cruelty by law enforcement in recent history.