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Published October 18, 2013, 10:04 AM

Pet pony dragged to death in northern N.D.

BOTTINEAU, N.D. (AP) — Authorities in Bottineau County are investigating the apparent dragging death of a miniature Shetland pony taken from a hobby farm, and two reward funds for information are in the works.

BOTTINEAU, N.D. (AP) — Authorities in Bottineau County are investigating the apparent dragging death of a miniature Shetland pony taken from a hobby farm, and two reward funds for information are in the works.

On Sept. 24, someone in a pickup truck chased the pet horse from a field, tired it out, struck it with the truck, then tied it to the back of the truck and dragged it along the road, owner Dave Boppre told the Minot Daily News.

The 38-inch-tall pony named Bad Boy, who had lived on the Bottineau hobby farm for about 10 years, would run from the back fields up to the farm house after just a quick whistle and would eagerly hop into the family van when the door was opened, Boppre said.

"He always had his nose in your pocket or (was) nuzzling you," Boppre said. "He was like an overgrown puppy who liked a lot of attention."

The mistreatment of the pony was horrific, its owner said.

"The hair, hide and meat was totally dragged off up to the cheek bone," Boppre said. "You could actually stick your hand past the cheekbone and into the mouth ... There was nothing there at all."

Boppre is accepting donations for a reward fund and has gathered about $250 so far. The North Dakota Stockmen's Association also is preparing a reward fund, according to Executive Vice President Julie Ellingson.

A law passed by the state Legislature earlier this year makes an act of animal cruelty a felony rather than a misdemeanor.

"This is a perfect example of why we needed more stringent penalties for these bad actors who do these egregious things," said Sen. Tim Flakoll, R-Fargo, a sponsor of the bill.

"It is sad that these criminals have snuffed the life of a pony whose only wish in life was probably to make children happy," Flakoll said. "It seems as if they stacked one bad act on top of another, and I find their actions repugnant."

Bottineau County State's Attorney Asmundur Swain Benson II said his office is awaiting an investigative report from the sheriff's department. Whoever is responsible for the pony's death could face up to five years in prison if convicted.


Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

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