By Natalie Potts
Dyer County Deputies are asking for help after one family's pet horse was found shot dead, Thursday morning.
Officials say someone opened fire in the darkness off of Parker Road in Dyersburg early Thursday morning, killing a family's 3-year-old Appaloosa horse in the pasture behind their home. Owner Deitra Clifton said the horse was found with a bullet between her eyes.
"Once we confirmed she had been shot in the head that was probably the hardest part...the reality of it. Why would anybody be so mean and so careless to do that to an innocent animal, a family pet," said Deitra Clifton.
Dyer County deputies said they are investigating the shooting as a possible poaching. They said they believe the shooter took aim from several yards away, beyond the family's property line fence off of Parker road.
"Why would somebody shoot a horse when obviously there is a neighborhood right here, there are houses, there are a heard of horses here all the time. Why would there be a deer here? Why would you shoot?" said owner Cayci Clifton. "I'm still in disbelief that it happened to us... I mean this isn't the area to see it happen in."
Officials said the area is considered to be a residential neighborhood, making the open gunfire a felony charge. The Clifton's said what is most frightening is the level of danger involved. They said it isn't uncommon for family members in this area to be out riding or feeding their horses at night.
"The poaching is a problem. The shining is a problem. There is a right way and a wrong way to hunt, and obviously that is not the right way," said Deitra Clifton."We've created an environment where our girls can be safe, and I feel like that safety has been breached."
Deputies said charges in this case could range from destruction to private property, opening fire in a residential area, felony reckless endangerment and aggravated animal cruelty. Officials said additional charges could also be filed by the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency.
Family members tell us they saw a suspicious white truck in the area shortly after the shooting. If you have any information that could help authorities in this case call the Dyer County Sheriff's Department at (731) 285-2802 or Crime Stoppers at (731)-285-TIPS (8477).