AURORA, Colo. (CBS4) – An unusual case of animal cruelty could be part of a growing crime as horse tail hair is being cut off to be sold.
Reports of the crime happening have come from Colorado, South Dakota and Wyoming. Wyoming has had the most with about 100 cases.
CBS4 was tipped off about an incident at a stable in Aurora. Casper the friendly horse had a long flowing tail until someone snipped it and stole the hair just days ago.
“Well I was devastated. I couldn’t believe it, I could not believe it. I thought that something happened to my brain because it was just such a shock and then, well I cried of course,” Casper’s owner Susan Schneider said.
Schneider keeps Casper at Kenlyn Arabian Stables in Aurora. She made the sad discovery on Thursday.
“He felt awful. He put his head in my hand and tried to tell me that he knew something was wrong,” Schneider said.
“This horse’s tail was very thick, clear to the ground,” stable owner Linda Fisher said.
Fisher said thieves cut just below the tailbone and removed three feet of Casper’s tail.
The hair is used to make jewelry, bridles, pottery, and in some cases, tail extensions.
“Horse extensions are very popular now in some breeds,” Fisher said. “They’ll use those in horse shows.”
Fisher also believes white horses are a prime target.
“If they’re going to do any dyeing, I’m sure the white hairs take to that dyeing a little better than the black,” she said.
While it’s an economic crime for the thief, for the horse itself, it renders him defenseless against a nasty nuisance.
“Tails are used by a horse for swishing the flies,” Fisher said.
“It’s a very cruel thing to do,” Schneider said.
Schneider said she plans to buy a new tail extension for Casper and it’ll come from a dead horse.
Fisher said she believes one way to stop the crime is to open up slaughter houses so horse hair is easier to get.