The Humane Society of the United States is offering a reward of up to $5,000 for information leading to the identification, arrest and conviction of the alleged teenagers responsible for trespassing on a farm and strangling the owner’s horse with a towing strap in Martinsburg, West Virginia.
The Case: News reports give the following account: On July 28, a neighbor reported seeing two teenagers trespassing on Kija Wilson’s farm on Shepherdstown Road and running away from where Wilson kept her retired, and blind in one eye, polo horse, Catnip. Catnip was later found with the strap so tight around her neck it had to be cut off with a razor. Her tongue and throat were swollen, making it very difficult to breathe. Catnip has since been euthanized because of her injuries.
Animal Cruelty: Getting the serious attention of law enforcement, prosecutors and the community in cases involving allegations of cruelty to animals is an essential step in protecting the community. The connection between animal cruelty and human violence is well documented. Studies show a correlation between animal cruelty and all manner of other crimes, from narcotics and firearms violations, to battery and sexual assault. Studies in psychology, sociology and criminology in the past 25 years have demonstrated that violent offenders frequently have childhood and adolescent histories of serious and repeated animal cruelty.
Summer Wyatt, West Virginia state director of The HSUS said, “It’s hard to imagine why someone would want to harm an animal, especially a sweet retired horse like Catnip. We hope our reward helps finds the persons responsible for this act of cruelty and gives Catnip’s owner some piece of mind.”
The Investigator: Berkley County Deputy Michael St. Clair is investigating. Anyone with information about the case is asked to call the Berkley County Sheriff’s Office at 304-267-7000 or the Berkley County Crime Solvers at 304-267-4999.
Resources: The HSUS Animal Cruelty Campaign raises public awareness and educates communities about the connection between animal cruelty and human violence, while providing a variety of resources to law enforcement agencies, social work professionals, educators, legislators and families. The HSUS offers rewards in animal cruelty cases across the country and works to strengthen laws against animal cruelty.