First it was supposedly ferocious family dogs that were being shot by police. Now, it’s ferocious family ponies?
A family in Clackamas county, Oregon, wants to know why a sheriff’s deputy shot their beloved family pet. Gir, a 30-year-old American Miniature Horse, was in great condition for his age, according to his owner, Crista Fitzgerald. In fact, he was in such good condition, that he escaped from his stall sometime during the night on February 18.
“I locked his stall door, and I always do a double check. 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 says the family began going door to door, looking for Gir. They found him at the first house they went to, lying in the yard. Fitzgerald says she thought he was taking a nap, but when she walked up to him, she could see a puddle of blood. The neighbor came out and said that she had called the sheriff’s department, and they had euthanized the horse.
According to sheriff’s department spokesman Sgt. Nathan Thompson, the officer believed that Gir had been hit by a car and had broken his back legs. Thompson also says that it was his understanding that the officer called the Oregon Humane Society to ask about euthanizing the horse. The Humane Society says they never received any such call.
The officer did apparently call a local veterinarian to ask about euthanizing Gir. The veterinarian’s office said that they offered to euthanize the horse, but the officer said he would take care of it himself.
The officer’s story doesn’t add up.
The first question that comes up in this incident is, where is the car that supposedly hit Gir? A miniature horse is not very large, but it is large enough to do substantial damage to a car. If Gir had been been hit by a car, somewhere there is a person with a pretty banged up car who would likely need to file an insurance claim. This story has been in the news for a couple of days now, but there is no mention of anyone coming forward to say that yes, he or she struck the horse.
Crista Fitzgerald says that her vet told her that, other than old age, there was nothing wrong with Gir. She sent the body to the veterinary lab at Oregon State University for their opinion. Their report confirms that, other than arthritis, there was nothing wrong with Gir, and the only broken bone in his body was his jaw, where he was struck by the bullet that killed him.
“If I had gone out and shot the pony I’d be in jail right now,” Fitzgerald says.
The hardest part of the whole affair, according to Fitzgerald, is explaining to her young children why they can’t ride Gir any more.
Fitzgerald’s husband filed a report with the Clackamas county sheriff’s department, which is investigating. Given the close attention that other police departments across the country have given to the cases of police officers who have shot and killed unarmed humans, this case is certain to be investigated fully. (Yes, that’s sarcasm.)
The Fitzgeralds have set up a GoFundMe page to help them hire a lawyer so they can get to the bottom of what happened to Gir. You can donate by clicking here.
Here’s the story, from KATU:
Image via Crista Fitzgerald/Facebook