AIKEN, S.C. (WJBF) – Horse owners in Aiken issued a call to action after one man said his horse was sexually assaulted.
This family moved to Aiken earlier this year to launch a horse business. So, the harrowing act comes as a shock as they make plans to live and work in the community.
“Right now she’s quiet. She’s a little bit depressed,” said Martijn Stuurman, co-owner.
He told us as soon as he saw a picture of his 5-year-old horse, Jachin, tied up with ropes, he knew she was hurt by someone.
“One was tied around her neck,” he described of the situation. “The legs were hobbled and there was a bucket that was missing that was later found over at the gate. It’s big enough, tall enough to stand on to do your business if you’re going to do your business.”
An Aiken County Sheriff’s Office report states Stuurman’s partner, Abigail Ronco, contacted authorities and informed them of what happened Friday night. Later, they contacted a local vet who checked Jachin out and learned she showed signs of irritation in her lower areas.
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The owners took to social media warning other horse owners that their mare had been a victim of sexual assault.
“Pay attention. Pay attention to where you put your stuff. Pay attention to where you put your buckets. Pay attention to strange behaviors of your horses,” Stuurman said.
The horse, who goes by Jahoo, participates in shows. Stuurman said even though she’s depressed, she should be ready to perform.
But the family wants to train, breed, sell and teach horses soon in Aiken and will now be on alert so that none of their livestock is harmed.
“That hobble, for example, could have seriously injured her. It could have broken her legs,” he said.
Right now this is an ongoing investigation and no suspect has been apprehended, but the owner wants to share that whoever did this will not want to come back. There are cameras on the property and the owners are monitoring it all day and all night.
Photojournalist: Gary Hipps