Massacred Equine Herd Still Without Justice

Massacred Equine Herd Still Without Justice

The Mississippi Third District Grand Jury convened on March 14, 2018, in Okolona, Mississippi hearing the case we’ve been following about the herd of horses and donkeys who were brutally gunned down on September 19, 2017 in the Van Vleet community of Chickasaw County. The morning of September 19th, Dalton Christian and his family discovered that their nine horses and two donkeys were missing. Gunfire had been heard and the search for the equines ended in horror. 

Months later, the jury was unable to return indictments for the four suspects in the case, citing insufficient evidence. Even still, the battle is not over. 

It all began when the Christian family’s herd of ten horses and two donkeys wandered onto neighboring property. They did not break any fences or destroy anything to gain access to this property. In fact, they were only able to get onto the neighboring land because a downed tree took down part of a fence. As they were innocently exploring, they were mowed down in a hail of bullets. Seven out ten of the horses and both of the donkeys were killed. Two seriously wounded horses made it home while several mortally wounded horses, who had struggled to make it home to safety, perished. To emphasize the violence of this crime, one of the equines had been shot five times in the face and head. 

Tip-offs as to the suspects’ identities and locations of weapons used in the crime came in and were provided to law enforcement and the District Attorney. However, there are major concerns about the authenticity of the investigation and the motives of those responsible for it. Law enforcement officers, for example, had the horses buried without retrieving bullets from their bodies, ensuring that major pieces of evidence were lost. Clearly, there was a sophisticated cleanup following the shootings; by whom, we don’t know. 

Months into the investigation, law enforcement approached Mr. Christian with an offer from his neighbor to financially settle with him for the loss of the herd. This offer was rejected and only served to fuel the family’s thirst for justice. The family is considering a civil suit to continue the fight for justice as well as any further information that could lead to an arrest. 

The fight is not over. There is still a $10,000 reward offer and the case can be brought to a future grand jury. In Defense of Animals is standing with the family whose beloved donkeys and horses were murdered by bloodthirsty monsters. Please consider making a donation to help our campaign to get justice for Mississippi’s animals.