TOP PHOTO: Jessica McTaggart Giuzio comforts Pebbles Friday afternoon. The pony was found laying in the grass Friday morning, showing signs of injury. – Photo: Matt Lamers
The Equestrian Center is offering a $15,000 reward to help catch whoever is responsible after a third horse was sexually assaulted last week.
Equestrian Center owner Mary Alberga said she is “at a loss over how to protect all these animals.”
Overnight Thursday someone assaulted a small pony in one of the back fields. The attack was similar to an August incident in which someone assaulted two ponies, one of which had to be put down because of internal injuries.
The Equestrian Center’s veterinarians say they expect the horse in the latest attack to make a full recovery.
“I can’t help but feel we are being targeted because there are ponies tethered on the roads near us in the bush,” Ms. Alberga said, adding, that “there are other horses at stables and properties all over the island and they have reported no problem.”
Jessica McTaggart Giuzio, who works with the Equestrian Center and is Ms. Alberga’s daughter, said the vet gave Pebbles antibiotics and pain killers. By mid-morning Friday, Pebbles, a small pony used with children at the weekly pony park, was back on her feet and eating.
Ms. McTaggart Giuzio said staff found Pebbles laying in the grass Friday morning and showing signs of injury. She said a veterinarian from the Agriculture Department examined Pebbles and found evidence of the assault.
“She’s clearly been abused,” Ms. McTaggart Giuzio said, standing in the field with Pebbles Friday morning. She said the miniature pony, which stands about three-and-a-half feet tall, had been in the field in the back of the property for the night.
On Sunday the Equestrian Center said Pebbles is still in pain and fighting an infection from internal injuries.
In a press release Friday evening, police said they are investigating the new assault and inquiries continue into the August attacks.
The Equestrian Center Sunday announced a $15,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or people responsible for the attacks.
Police Superintendent Robert Graham said, “We understand the resonance these disturbing attacks have within the community. This kind of abuse of an animal is unacceptable and cannot be tolerated.”
“Officers are actively investigating these reports and any information members of the public may have, no matter how small, would be welcome,” Mr. Graham added.
Ms. Alberga explained they continue to boost security at the center at the corner of Linford Pierson Highway and Bobby Thompson Way, but with such a large property it has been difficult to secure all the fields.
The overnight assault is similar to the Aug. 10 incident at the same property when someone assaulted two other ponies with a foreign object in one of the stables. Those two ponies, like Pebbles, were known to be gentle and calm around people.
One of the ponies in the August assault, Charm, developed a severe infection from internal injuries sustained during the assault and had to be put down. The other horse recovered.
Police have not made any arrests in the August case.