CHARLES COUNTY, Md. (WJZ)–Police in Charles County are tracking down leads in an unusual case of animal cruelty. A horse was shot.
But as Mike Schuh reports, the horse was anything but ordinary.
At 23, Kim Fullerton is a college student, world champion equestrian and heartbroken.
On her family farm she raises show horses. Six years ago, she bought an untrained Kentucky 2-year-old whose coat was covered in fungus and tail bent.
That horse, Bender, won big in 2009.
“We were reserve national champions,” Fullerton said.
In 2010, better things were on the way. They won the world championship, and Bender was named horse of the year.
“He was in that far field over there by the shed with the gate over there,” Fullerton said.
These days, she talks about Bender in the past tense.
A few weeks ago, Fullerton came out to feed Bender. But “that morning, he wasn’t at the gate,” Fullerton said. “He was in the middle of the field in a pool of blood.”
Bender had been shot in what Fullerton describes as “the equivalent of your knee.”
With damage there, she knew it was hopeless. The vet put down Bender.
Just on the other side of the farm, there is a highly traveled road. In the past few years there have been three shootings off that road.
“Since 2008, there have been two other reports of animal cruelty to horses in the area,” said Diane Richardson, Charles County Sheriff’s Office.
“Everyday my heart breaks because I miss him so much,” Fullerton said. “I feel like I’m never going to replace a piece in my heart because he was more than a partner, more than a horse.”
Fullerton says Bender’s killer must have gotten a sick thrill and she hopes more victims come forward so the killer is caught.
The sheriff’s department has to determine motive. The charges could range from destruction of property to animal cruelty.