Reward offered for information in case of stolen, abused horseWith the completion of the Fort Pierre Rodeo behind her, Wendy Halweg made a final check on her horse, Dually, at 4:30 a.m. on the morning of July 5. Two hours later, she awoke to find the horse gone from the County Fairgrounds.
By: Austin Kaus, The Daily Republic
With the completion of the Fort Pierre Rodeo behind her, Wendy Halweg made a final check on her horse, Dually, at 4:30 a.m. on the morning of July 5.
Two hours later, she awoke to find the horse gone from the County Fairgrounds.
What began as case of a missing horse then turned gruesome as the animal was discovered a short time later injured and confined to a tree.
Today, the successful barrel-racing horse’s future chances of competition are in question, and an emotional Halweg wants some answers.
“The rodeo world is pretty much a small family and, when something like this happens, it’s huge, because we take a lot of pride in our horses,” Halweg said. “(He) is very much a person in our mind.”
Halweg, an award-winning barrel racer from Mitchell, would not reveal the exact nature of the injuries her horse suffered after being nabbed from his pen. The horse is currently under the care of a Harrisburg veterinarian, who has been unable to determine if Dually will ever compete again.
“There’s severe damage,” Halweg said.
She’s hoping that anyone with details will come forth and help find the individuals that stole and allegedly abused the horse she’s owned for nine years.
“There have been some people who have been a great help,” Halweg said. “It’s just the more information we have, the better it will be.”
Stanley County Sheriff Brad Rathbun said there are at least two suspects in the case. On Tuesday, Rathbun said he believed the perpetrators may be young adults.
Rathbun said the horse received cuts from an unknown source. He said any suspects arrested for the crime may face charges of animal cruelty and grand theft.
On Wednesday, the American Horse League condemned the actions of those who stole and abused Dually, asking Stanley County prosecutors to punish those responsible for the crime.
“There is simply no justification for the actions of the parties involved in this heinous crime,” said Chase Adams, American Horse League CEO.
Sindi Jandreau, Badlands circuit director of the Woman’s Professional Rodeo Association, said she was especially concerned about the randomness of the situation.
“They just grabbed a horse that was standing there and tormented him,” Jandreau said. “I have never heard of anybody doing anything like this.”
A reward fund has been established through the South Dakota Rodeo Association for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible.