Four horses turned up dead on a Converse County ranch last week, and the owners believe they were poisoned with a "neurological toxin," but are uncertain how the drug was administered.
However, outside of a Facebook post that has generated close to 1,500 mostly sympathetic comments, it's an alleged crime that nobody wants to talk about.
The owners of the horses, Joe and Lindsay Bright, are adamant that someone entered their private property and poisoned their horses July 31. The Brights claim five horses were poisoned. One was treated by a Colorado State University veterinarian and saved.
Converse County Undersheriff Nate Hughes said the case was turned over to state investigators. He declined to confirm the date of the alleged crime or any further details.
Wyoming Livestock Investigator Chris Strang also declined to provide any details.
"I'll tell ya, it's an ongoing investigation, so I'm not going to talk about it," Strang said. "The owners can say what they want."
A Bright Ranch Facebook post indicates the family has been warned not to talk about the incident.
Although the term “murder” does not legally apply to animals, the Bright Ranch is offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of "anyone connected to the murder of our horses," according to the Facebook post.
"They were found dead yesterday, I can’t go into details as the investigation is still underway,” says the July 31 post. “If you have any credible information, your identity will remain confidential. Update, we picked my Wife’s horse Amigo up from CSU he is ready to come home, very stiff and wobbly. Just plain hurting ... Was gut wrenching watching him trotting around calling for his life-long friends."
The post goes on to say that the horses were not shot, but were given a "neurological toxin" that has yet to be determined.
Where Would A Toxin Come From?
Several veterinarians in Converse, Niobrara and Platte counties contacted by Cowboy State Daily said drugs used to euthanize large animals are not available over the counter. A law that went into effect in July requires livestock owners to have an established relationship with their veterinarian before most drugs can be prescribed.
According to the University of Wyoming, there are five plants that grow naturally in Wyoming that can kill livestock. They include water hemlock, sorghum hay, milkweed, Death Camas and locoweed.
A crowdfunding effort is underway that as Tuesday morning had raised $208.
The Bright Ranch Facebook post has generated close to 1,500 comments. Most are sympathetic and many question how anyone could allegedly commit such a heinous crime, if that’s determined to be the case.
One of the Bright Ranch posts in the thread suggests a potential suspect who may have had an "axe to grind."