The reward for information leading to an arrest of a suspect who shot a horse in Levy County earlier this year has increased to $7,000, according to Scott Tummond, spokesman for the Levy County Sheriff’s Office.
The Humane Society of the United States has contributed $5,000 to the current reward for information regarding the shooting of Emma, a horse in early January.
“We are hoping the reward will prompt somebody to give us some information that will lead us to a suspect and ultimately a conviction,” Tummond said.
Emma was found in a pasture in January, where she was being boarded, with multiple gunshot wounds, including to her head and knee.
“It was a callous act,” Tummond said. “It wasn’t during hunting season so we can’t claim it was an accident. The horse was also shot multiple times so we can’t claim that was an accident.”
Emma underwent emergency surgery and is currently under care at Beauty’s Haven Farm and Equine Rescue.
Theresa Batchelor, Emma’s caregiver at Beauty’s Haven, says that doctors removed the bullet that fractured her knee and a lot of shrapnel, however they did not remove the bullet to her head because it rests so close to the spinal cord.
“Removing it could do more harm than good,” Batchelor said.
Beauty’s Haven became involved in Emma’s care after the veterinarian treating Emma’s wounds asked if they could take her because the resources to treat her had dried up.
“I knew right away we had to do something,” Batchelor said.
Without Beauty’s Haven, Batchelor says things could have been a lot different.
“She would have either been euthanized or if they chose to do nothing, she may have gotten joint ill and died.”
Emma will probably never be able to be ridden, but Batchelor expects she will be able to have a good quality of life.
“When she first got here, she didn’t want to be touched because she was so sore everywhere,” Batchelor said.
However, slowly but surely, Emma’s condition is improving. Batchelor said that she expects staples to be taken out of Emma’s jaw and stitches to be taken out of her left front leg Monday.
Their goal is to eventually find Emma a new home after she more fully recovers, but Emma could stay at Beauty’s Haven if her care becomes too complicated.
Levy County Sheriff’s Office continues to investigate the shooting and is asking anyone who has information about who hurt Emma to come forward.
“Because of the quick response of the horse owner, the quick response of Beauty’s Haven, we were able to save this animal’s life,” Tummond said. “We want to give the best protection we can to these animals.”