BETHANY, Mo. — For Steve and Lisa Tharp, family has four legs.
Quigley, their 4-year-old miniature horse, was known for his huge, playful personality. He often took his antics to Bethany Elementary, where he donned a Rudolph costume to visit the kids at Christmas.
The mischievous miniature loved running through the pasture with his four-legged family.
"He'll play these little games with me. After I'm done, he'll come up and kiss me on the cheek, every time," Steve Tharp said.
On regular days, the Tharps have a routine. Once the horses are fed, Lisa sits on the ground to pet them and hand out treats.
"The last two nights, she's sitting out there and all these ponies, they'd all get around. There was one empty spot," Steve said.
The spot belongs to Quigley.
When he did not come to the gate at dinner time on Sunday, the Tharps became worried.
After searching the large, partially-wooded pasture, Steve found his beloved horse. It was something he could have never prepared himself to see.
"They shot him through the neck, it came out his nose," Steve said, "They took his ear off at the base, cut the eye out."
Quigley's lower abdomen was skinned, and his genitals were also removed.
"And all I can see is Quigley looking at him. Innocent," Steve said, crying.
The couple filed a report with Bethany, Missouri police. The department posted about the case on its Facebook page Tuesday night.
"Citizens of Bethany, please know the mutilation of Quigley is being investigated. A report has been created and all leads are being followed up," the post reads.
The Tharps don't want this to happen to any other animals, and they want to know who killed a member of their family.
"This is not about Steve and Lisa. This is about one boy," Steve said, "Quigley, if he has to sacrifice, I want justice."
If you have any information about this case, contacted the Bethany Police Department at (660) 425-3199.