Missouri officials investigate slashing of horses

HOLLISTER, Mo. (AP) - Authorities in southwest Missouri have been investigating an attack on several horses that suffered 18-inch gashes and other injuries.

Taney County Prosecutor Jeff Merrell told The Springfield News-Leader that officials have identified people of interest in an attack earlier this month on five barrel-racing horses at a ranch near Hollister. He said charges could be filed soon.

"In the back of my mind, I wonder, `If someone is capable of doing this to an animal, what could they do to a person?"' Merrell said.

The horses' owner, Dee Dee Ulrich, said she was out of town when someone came into the horses' stalls and abused the animals. The horses had gashes on their hides and had been ridden hard.

Ulrich said when she returned and discovered the horses' condition, she hid in a trailer on the property to see if she could catch someone entering the barn that night. A group showed up about midnight.

Ulrich called authorities, but the group fled just as officers arrived. Officers, however, caught one man who was carrying a machete. The man was interviewed but not arrested.

Ulrich said the animals are still skittish, but she expects them to make a full recovery other than some scars above their legs. She is postponing competitions until she feels they are ready.

"It's like they came in my home and messed with my kids," Ulrich said.

She said she's frustrated no one has been charged or arrested yet.

"Some answers would be nice."

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