FAIRFIELD TOWNSHIP (KDKA) — Police in Westmoreland County are investigating after a family’s Shetland pony was shot in the neck and died from its injuries.

The animal’s owners did not want to be identified, but say they and their eight children are devastated by what happened and don’t understand why someone would want to hurt their pony.

The family has owned the Shetland pony, named Peaches, for several years.

The kids put him in a pen outside around 11 a.m. Tuesday, and when they went to get him around 3 p.m., they noticed blood coming from his neck. The pony had been shot with a high-powered rifle.

“We weren’t able to find any of the gun fragments, we weren’t able to find a shell casing, we weren’t able to find the bullet it went clean through the horse’s neck unfortunately, and subsequently, the horse passed away,” said Trooper Steve Limani, of the Pennsylvania State Police.

A vet came to the family’s home quickly, but the horse was too severely injured and had to be put down. Police interviewed people all over the area, but came up with no leads.

“Hopefully, there’s somebody that heard this or has some kind of description or somebody happened to talk about doing this,” Trooper Limani said.

The family lives in a remote part of Fairfield Township.

“The fact that this incident took place during the day, it would have to lend itself to believe they did this intentionally,” said Trooper Limani. “I mean, how could you accidentally mistake a pony for any other type of animal. It’s a horse, it’s in a pen and it’s on this people’s property.”

The family tells KDKA’s Trina Orlando that the worst part for them is knowing the pony likely suffered.

State police say whoever did this needs to understand that it is a very serious offense.

“If someone’s driving around trying to kill animals they have to realize they’re going to be prosecuted,” Trooper Limani added. “It’s not a joke, it’s not something to be taken lightly. There’s people that own these animals that are devastated.”

If you know something about this shooting, no matter how insignificant the information may seem, state police would like to hear from you.

They say that could be the information that helps them break the case. You can contact them at the barracks in Greensburg.

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