The South Australia family who lost six beloved miniature ponies in a brutal attack has been overwhelmed by the wave of public support following news their show horses had their throats cut.
Police are investigating the Friday night attack, which they have labelled cruel and bizarre.
The two colts and four fillies, all about two years old, were found dead in their stalls around 8.30am on Saturday. Three other miniatures were spared by the offenders.
The miniatures were based at Jacksons Miniature Horses, run by Julie and Mel Jackson, on the Fleurieu Peninsula, south of Adelaide.
The family acknowledge it appears to have been a targeted attack, but say they have no idea what was behind it.
“It just would take an extremely sick individual, I think, to carry this out, and we just can’t believe it,” said Daniel Spong, the son of Julie Jackson.
“These horses each have their own characters and personalities and each of the staff and family have their own personal relationships with the animals.
“Given the location of the property … it certainly looks as though it’s a targeted attack, but [we have] absolutely no idea why or who is behind it.”
Julie Jackson has posted a $A100,000 reward for information leading to a conviction, with radio personality Jeremy Cordeaux adding another $A10,000 to the sum.
A Facebook page update from Jacksons Miniature Horses reports: “We are trying to respond to all of your kind messages and posts but are simply overwhelmed at the moment.
“Your comments and offers of assistance are greatly appreciated. There are some fantastic people out there and we are confident that the perpetrators of this evilness against innocent and loving horses will soon be caught and punished.”
Mel Jackson reports: “The police are starting to receive a lot of useful information and are pursuing a number of leads.
“They are being extremely diligent and are determined to find the culprits.
“If anybody has received threats against their persons, horses and families, please contact Crime Stoppers in your State. Your information, however much you think insignificant, could add to the volume of evidence already on hand and help us put away the evil-doers for a very long time.
“This is classified as a major crime and needs to be solved. The perpetrators are facing a jail term of up to 10 years for this crime, maybe more if the court is convinced that others have received violent threats from the same scumbags.”
The web page, in naming the six horses killed, said the animals were not slaughtered by any “random lowlife”.
“They were deliberately murdered by someone who knows us. It was a ‘hit’.”
The victims were named as:
- Jackson’s AL Dralion (Aztecs Laramie (imp USA) x Silhouette Storms Bejewelled);
- Jackson’s TBM Nouvelle Experience (Glenmar Park Teddys Black Magic x Lazy Bar Rowdys White Dove)
- Jackson’s GF Sails At Clayton Bay (Shangrila MR Grand Finale x Cagra Park Delta Dawn)
- Jackson’s JG Zumanity (Cranage Justa Gigolo x Cranage Heaven Scent)
- Jackson’s GA Alegria (Apoco-D Gamblers Anonymous x Alchemy Dynamic Destiny)
- Excellence Academy RM Flaunt It (SMHC’s Ringmaster x Our Lil Dobbins Steppins Moonbeam).
University of Adelaide Law School criminologist Allan Perry told The Herald Sun that aspects of the crime, including the remote location and premeditated actions, led him to believe the attack was personal.
“The motivation could be either that the perpetrator has a sadistic, sociopathic disorder or, alternatively, it could be an act of violence indirectly aimed at the owners of the horses, against whom the perpetrator had a grudge,” he said.
“Being a fairly obscure, out-of-the-way area, that would support the proposition that it might have been a premeditated act of violence against the owners of the horses, rather than just sadistic animal cruelty.”
It was likely to have been an act of vengeance against the owners, he said, essentially targeting the emotional attachment between animal and owner.
It was designed to cause the owners the maximum degree of emotional distress and suffering, he said.