A community is outraged and on edge, after two men were caught on camera throwing rocks at and punching two horses.
The animal cruelty lasted half an hour in Desert Foothills during the overnight hours of September 2.
The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office is now investigating the crime and so many neighborhoods north of Phoenix are on the lookout.
The horse that was attacked most was elderly and trapped inside a pen.
“Indy is 30 [years old],” said Sean, his owner. “He’s a spoiled, retired horse.”
“This is supposed to be [his] good ol’ days,” said Dana Pietsch, Sean’s wife. “Then this happens.”
The couple says they noticed something was off when they were feeding the horses the next morning.
“We saw a river rock in his pen,” said Sean. “So we checked the security cameras and that’s when we discovered two individuals had come into the yard at 1 a.m. and were in here for about 30 minutes straight -- assaulting the horses, throwing river rocks at them, punching them. All kinds of horrible, horrible things.”
The two young men only scurried away when Sean says he stepped on his back porch around 1:30 a.m. to have a smoke.
“I almost feel guilty that I was 200 feet away and didn’t know, and didn’t stop it,” he said.
The video shows the suspects repeatedly throwing large five to 10-pound rocks at the fenced-in animal.
“He was crashing into the rails, trying to do everything to get away from them -- to get out of his pen,” said Sean.
When the female horse, who was in the larger corral, trotted over to check on her friend, the men turned their ire.
“As soon as she came, they immediately went after her and she took off, but poor Indy was stuck in his pen,” said Sean. “They could have killed him.”
Fortunately, Indy was bruised but not broken.
“He is sore and what not. I hope there’s no permanent damage,” said Sean, noting later that he is a little more skittish now at loud noises.
When the video was posted in neighborhood groups, the community was so outraged they pledged more than $2,000 in reward money and started talking about how they could take out their own justice. Dana recently started a GoFundMe to raise more.
“People want to stake out, they want to do their part, they want to catch them,” said Dana.
“They want them found. A lot of people are very hurt and very upset after seeing what was happening to these horses,” said Sean. “But we don’t want any vigilante justice...We want it to go through law enforcement.”
MCSO confirmed to ABC15 they are investigating and taking the potential trespassing and animal abuse charges very seriously.
According to Dana and Sean using their security camera footage, both suspects are White Males, between the approximate ages of 16-22
Suspect #1: Had a blue shirt, tan bottom, blonde hair, appears to be between 5’ 7” & 5’ 9”, approximately 150lbs
Suspect #2: Appears to had been wearing a light-colored top and pants, dark shoulder-length curly hair, dark-colored baseball cap with light-colored writing on it, appears to be between 5’ 10” & 6’, approximately 155lbs
If you recognize either, contact the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office at (602) 876-TIPS (8477).