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Horse hair thieves continually target West Jordan family

Posted at 6:26 PM, Nov 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-03 20:26:05-04

WEST JORDAN, Utah — A West Jordan family wants to know who is targeting their horses, committing an unusual crime the family said has happened three times over the past three years.

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Taylor Armbruster often goes over to her parent's house to hang out with the three family horses-- Susie Q, Bobbie, and Henry.

"We all just enjoy spending time with them," she said, as the mule and two mustangs huddled around her to accept treats Wednesday afternoon.

Lately, she's had to give them extra attention, and will soon be taking all three to see a veterinarian.

The family is concerned, after Armbruster's mother discovered that someone else had apparently visited the horse trio just over a week ago.

"You can see the different hack marks," Armbruster said, holding up what's left of Susie's tail.

Susie and Bobbie's tails were lopped off, clear up to the tailbone.

That is weird in and of itself, but Armbruster explained how this is the third time a hair thief has harassed the horses.

FOX 13 first interviewed Armbruster and other horse owners back in October 2018 when several horses were found in West Jordan and Tooele with the tails cut off.

At the time, Armbruster's family owned Henry and Sage, a Missouri Fox Trotter. Only Sage had her tail cut.

"They actually broke her tailbone," Armbruster recounted. "And so, there wasn't just a haircut, there was actual breakage of her tailbone."

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Sage later passed away, Armbruster said, and the family got Susie and Bobbie.

Then in September 2019, Susie was targeted.

Now exactly two years later, the same time of year, someone cut both Susie and Bobbie's tails off. Armbruster said Susie's tail had only regrown about 4 inches in that time.

They think the person also went for Henry because Armbruster said Henry's tailbone is bruised.

"We just want to know, why? Why us?" Armbruster questioned. "Is it spite? Are we being targeted?"

West Jordan Police and Animal Services confirmed they took the reports each year and are investigating the case.

So far, there are no leads and no indication why someone would return multiple times to cut the horse tails.

"There is some interest in horsehair. Sometimes they’re used in musical instruments, stringed instruments, sometimes people might use them for crafts or jewelry," explained Animal Services Manager Dan Eatchel.

However, Eatchel had never heard of such a theft before this case. He hasn't taken any other reports from anyone else.

He indicated that the person could potentially face animal cruelty charges because of the broken tailbone, but at the very least, it classifies as theft, criminal mischief, or trespassing.

Armbruster described how the missing tails is a health issue for the horses. They can't swat away flies, and it takes years and years for the tails to regrow. She plans to order tail extensions to help.

She just wants whoever is responsible to stop. Her message for them:

"It's not funny. It’s not a prank," she said. "It's cruel. Forget the trespassing part-- you're hurting our animals."