Officials are investigating a string of violent horse attacks in upstate South Carolina that left some animals dead and others with severe injuries.
At least five horses have been injured in the past three weeks, Greenville and Spartanburg county officials said. One died, and two others were euthanized because of their injuries.
The attacks have drawn the attention of the governor and state law enforcement officials. Residents also are rattled.
One horse was shot and killed in Greenville County, the sheriff’s department there said. Another in that county was found with cuts.
In neighboring Spartanburg County, three horses were found with slashes on their hind legs and bellies, the county’s environmental enforcement director, Jamie Nelson, told CNN. Two of those horses had to be put down.
“What we are not sure of is whether or not the wounds are from (a) human or wild animal. That’s one of the things we are investigating,” Nelson said of the cases in his jurisdiction.
The governor is following developments
South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster said his office “has been made aware of the situation and has been in contact with local officials to offer his full support.”
“Our office has also been in contact with the State Law Enforcement Division (SLED), which is formally involved at this point, and will continue to keep a close eye on the situation as it unfolds,” the statement reads.
SLED’s assistance was “requested to investigate the incidents and is doing so,” the agency told CNN.
Residents met Sunday to discuss the puzzling tragedies, CNN affiliate WYFF reported.
“In this case, they’re wanting to do some type of destruction to the animal, and it’s intentional,” horse owner Ben Few told WYFF of his take on the attacks. His horse, 12-year-old Maggie Mae, was found heavily bleeding from scratches the morning after Halloween and is recovering.
In 25 years working in animal control, Nelson has never seen anything like this, he said