Florida authorities in Marion County Sheriff’s Office are in the midst of an investigation into the cruelty and death of one horse and severe injury to another, and on June 10 extended their search via the media on a broader scale. The brutality was originally committed on the two horses June 2 and June 4 – one horse died and the other is fighting for life. More information has been released in an effort to apprehend those responsible for this crime.
Two neighbors, John Hoogerhyde and Leah Greenleaf, both noticed something wrong with their horses, Jolean and Kate, two days apart.
Hoogerhyde’s Paso Fino horse, Jolean, 17, was found with a small spot of blood on her shoulder. At first, he suspected an insect bite. In a short while, however, the mare became listless, sluggish and was unable to stand. Her shoulder became bloated and swollen. Nothing could be done to save Jolean and she was euthanized. This was a tragic end for a horse that had endured a cruel life of starvation and beatings prior to the time Hoogerhyde rescued her. Jolean spent 18 months in her new home with Hoogerhyde before she was killed in this act of animal cruelty.
During the necropsy performed on the mare, an overwhelming odor of gasoline came from her flesh. The sickening evidence was that Jolean had been injected with gasoline.
And then, two days later on June 4 Greenleaf observed the same symptoms in her horse Kate, 6. The horse had a puncture wound resembling a nasty bug bite. Soon the affected area began to swell and inflame. Greenleaf immediately sought out the help of her veterinarian who discovered gasoline in the horse’s muscles. Kate has undergone two surgeries already. Another follow-up surgery is coming up to cut away more of the poisoned tissue.
The neighbors kept their horses on the rear portion of their properties. Neither Hoogerhyde nor Greenleaf can come to grips with why someone would want to hurt their horses.
Since these incidents, they have moved their horses elsewhere and installed surveillance equipment to keep watch.
Hoogerhyde has implored the person guilty of this cruelty to stop. He said,
If you're the person that's doing this to our horses, just come forward. Stop it now.
Greenleaf and Hoogerhyde have offered a $1,000 reward for information leading to an arrest.
Marion County Sheriff’s Office is asking the public to call with any information that may help solve this sickening crime.