Equine Theft Listserve
- Dear members,
Earlier this year I started a website for the purpose of providing
names and addresses of PI's willing to take on equine theft cases.
As a prior law enforcement officer, I know the general lack of
interest from most agencies to put serious investigative efforts
into these cases, since it is, to them, a property crime. However,
as a horse owner and breeder, the loss is a tremendous emotional
issue, and in some cases a trmendous financial loss.
This holiday season, I ask all of you to consider joining the
Netposse listserve, a non-profit organization know as Stolen Horse
International, at www.netposse.com. Debi Metcalf has single handedly
developed a website where people that have had horses stolen, can go
to print flyers, and ask for help. I will also be happy to place
your company on the website I have created
www.equinetheftinvestigatorsnetwork.com, if you provide me with all
I have attached a news story of a typical unhappy ending of a stolen
horse. Maybe someday you can be in the position to help someone like
this, as I have, recover a stolen horse, before such a tragedy can
happen. Thanks for your time and Happy Holidays to all!
DJ Oncale and Associates Investigations
23150 Eastside Road
Willits, Ca. 95490
www.netposse.com (All the info you will need to know about horse
theft and prevention)
December 11, 2004
Girl's horse stolen, slaughtered
By Heather Yakin
Roscoe Somewhere out there is a heartless thief who stole a 13-
year-old girl's horse and sold him to a slaughterhouse.
Sky Dutcher learned on her 13th birthday, Nov. 26, that her
Arabian-Morgan mix horse, a beautiful silver bay called Cimmorron,
was gone. He'd been stolen from his pasture on Morton Hill Road.
Sky hoped to get her horse back by Christmas.
But Thursday night, she and her dad, Dale Dutcher, got the news:
Cimmorron had been sold to a slaughterhouse in Quebec.
"I was really, really mad," Sky Dutcher said yesterday. "I was
hoping that it didn't happen. I was hoping that we were going to get
The horse was a birthday gift to Sky in 2002. He was a friendly,
goofy colt, his brown coat and dark legs, mane and tail peppered
with silver so he looked blonde and pewter.
"He was really, really nice," Sky Dutcher said. "He was really
good with kids."
On Nov. 26, the family went to the pasture where they kept
Cimmorron. At first, they thought he was elsewhere on the 435-acre
"I couldn't even conceive in my mind that someone would steal my
horse," said Dale Dutcher, who's got two more horses and other
animals on his farm in Roscoe.
When they realized the horse had been stolen, sleuthing turned up
a suspect, a person they know.
State police are investigating. No arrest has been made.
The Dutchers and Dale's fiancee, Brandi Barker, and family friend
Alix Dench-Layton, who bred Cimmorron, contacted Stolen Horse
International. The nonprofit group's network of horse folks helps
look for stolen horses.
People around the country searched for Cimmorron at livestock
auctions and slaughterhouses. The response amazed the family.
The Dutchers looked, too, driving for hours, working the phones,
getting fliers printed.
Thursday night, Dench-Layton got the confirmation from the
slaughterhouse in Quebec. It had bought Cimmorron and, unaware of
the theft, sent the horse to slaughter.
"It's devastating," Dale Dutcher said. "And it's one of those
crimes they don't pay attention to."
About the only criminal charges that can be filed for horse
thefts are larcenies.
He'd like to see that law change, as well as this one: Any horse
sold for recreation needs a certificate stating it's free of
infectious equine anemia. Sell a horse for slaughter, and no such
paperwork is needed. Requiring the certificate could slow horse
thieves, Dutcher said, and maybe help find stolen horses.
"Unfortunately, the legal system can't break it down to how much
you care for the horse," Dutcher said. "They can only break it down
to how much you paid for the horse."
Cimmorron's case isn't rare.
"It's happening all the time," said Debi Metcalfe of Stolen Horse
International. About 40,000 horses are stolen each year in the
Most of the time, the horses that are stolen are sold at auction,
usually within 24 hours, she said.
"If [people] see a horse being loaded on the side of the road,
don't assume it's the horse's owner," Metcalfe said. "Call the
police and let them figure it out."
Sky Dutcher hasn't given up on having a horse of her own.
"I want to get an ugly horse," she said. "I feel bad, because
nobody will want the ugly horse."
"And no one will steal it," Dale Dutcher added.
Protecting your horse
Have your veterinarian microchip your horse, and use a visible
identification like a freeze-brand or lip tattoo.
Record the ID information with state and federal registries.
Keep current photos of the horse.
Maintain a file of your important horse information.
Keep fencing in good shape and gates padlocked.
Don't leave halters or lead ropes by the stall doors or hanging
on gates or fences. Don't keep halters on horses in the pasture.
Install security lighting around the barn. Keep a dog or other
noisy animal on premises to alert you to any intruders.
Get to know your neighbors. Start a neighborhood watch.
Source: Stolen Horse International
If your horse is stolen
Report the theft to police immediately. Provide a written
description, identification information, a recent photo, copies of
ownership papers. Stay in touch and update them on what you've
Notify the New York State Horse Council (online at
Forward your horse's ID information to livestock auctions and
horse dealers in your area and surrounding states. Contact
Notify your vet, neighbors, farrier and feed and supply stores.
Visit auction yards and slaughterhouses. Check all trailers and
Source: New York State Horse Council