Meadville Tribune

Local News

August 28, 2012

Weekend horse burning baffles authorities

ATHENS TOWNSHIP — “Horrible” is how Jessie K. Woodworth describes what happened to one of her horses over the weekend.

Someone doused North Star, a 6-year-old horse, with a flammable liquid and then set the animal on fire while the horse was in an Athens Township pasture.

While the animal was burnt or singed on most of its body, it survived, as the burns were superficial, though the horse lost its mane, said Woodworth of the Centerville area.

“He’s burnt from the top to his hindquarters,” said Woodworth, who has owned horses for about the past 10 years. “His skin is like a piece of leather.”

The animal cruelty incident happened some time between 7 p.m. Saturday and 6 p.m. Sunday when the horse was in a field off Athens Road, according to Pennsylvania State Police at Corry.

“We don’t know what happened or why,” said Trooper Jeff Fike of the Corry barracks.

“I have no idea whatsoever,” Woodworth said when asked by a Tribune reporter why it may have happened. “I don’t know if its kids thinking it’s cute or what.”

The horse was being kept in a friend’s pasture with another of the Woodworth horses, a 7-year-old female named Little Bit, she said.

Mrs. Woodworth’s husband, Robert, had gone to the field to gather the horses as Mrs. Woodworth and her daughter were preparing to go riding Sunday.

“Little Bit came and not North Star — that was unusual,” said Mrs. Woodworth. “They’re herd animals. Horses stay together. Little Bit and North Star are buddies.”

After her husband informed her of only finding the one horse, Mrs. Woodworth went with her daughter to the field.

Mrs. Woodworth called out for North Star who answered and eventually came.

“He was hiding in the woods,” Mrs. Woodworth said of North Star. “I think we caught up with him before he went into shock.”

The horse currently is under a veterinarian’s care, she said.

Surprisingly, North Star isn’t skittish around the Woodworth family, Mrs. Woodworth said, but noted Little Bit has become so.

Mrs. Woodworth is hoping someone will come forward and give information to state police.

“We’re trying to let everybody know what happened,” said Mrs. Woodworth. “(Despite what took place), he’s still a beautiful animal.”

You can help

Pennsylvania State Police at Corry are asking for the public’s help in gathering information on a weekend horse-burning incident in Athens Township. The incident took place between 7 p.m. Saturday and 6 p.m. Sunday.

Persons with information about the cruelty to animals case are asked to contact state police at Corry at (814) 663-2043 or toll-free, (800) 922-1975.

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