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Published November 14, 2013, 10:54 AM

Owner, investigators seek answers in shooting of horse near Cooperstown, N.D.

COOPERSTOWN, N.D. – Kim Damsgard has been blaming herself since finding her horse Buckskin lying half frozen in a pond an hour south of here Tuesday morning, shot through the neck.

By: Emily Welker, Forum News Service

COOPERSTOWN, N.D. – Kim Damsgard has been blaming herself since finding her horse Buckskin lying half frozen in a pond an hour south of here Tuesday morning, shot through the neck.

“I feel like there’s something I could have done,” Damsgard said. “Like I should have driven out there Sunday. But I’m a hospice nurse, and I have patients dying.”

Sunday was the last time anyone saw Buckskin alive. Damsgard boarded the 3- to 4-year-old Palomino-quarterhorse mix with Scott Henderson, who lives near Enderlin. Henderson’s son, Tanner, saw Buckskin that day.

Both Hendersons and Damsgard have spent many hours mourning since then.

“Somebody shot my baby,” Damsgard said. “I don’t think I’ve ever cried so much in my life.”

A Cass County Sheriff’s Department detective is investigating the shooting, said Cass County Sgt. Tara Morris.

The detective is also investigating a separate open case of three or four cattle that were reported shot within the past month in Cass County, Morris said.

Morris said they don’t believe the two cases are related because the cattle shooting appears to have been done at closer range, and looks more deliberate.

Damsgard suspects a hunter may have mistaken the buckskin-colored horse for a deer. Deer-hunting season opened in the state Friday.

She’s considered offering a reward for information leading to charges against the culprit, but investigators are worried doing so will produce false leads from the public.

Investigators plan to take a metal detector to the area Thursday to see if they can recover a slug.

Damsgard said she’s not just concerned about getting justice for Buckskin.

The horse fell 200 yards from a house, well within range of potential harm to humans from a stray bullet.

“The land was posted,” she said. “Nobody, for any reason, had any business shooting in there.”

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