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Family says beloved horse stolen, slaughtered in Sumter County

The family had the horse for 10 years
Posted at 11:49 PM, Dec 11, 2019

BUSHNELL, Fla. -- The Sumter County Sheriff's Office is investigating a case of animal cruelty.

Tamara Weaver said her family's horse was stolen and slaughtered likely for meat. She said they kept the horse at a pasture in Sumter County. The horse was found dead in a wooded area near Jumper Creek on Wednesday.

"She called me when they found her and she told me to stay away because it was horrific," said Weaver.

Weaver said the horse belonged to her daughter. Her grandparents gave her the horse as a gift her senior year in high school.

"It is a family member, you know. We've loved her very much for a very long time and to just have her taken from us for something like that is just so brutal," said Weaver.

The family has had the horse for 10 years. The family said their horse, Jayda, was friendly.

"She loved people. She was very social and maybe that's why she went with them. She loved food and would never pass it up. If they showed her food, she would go with them," said Weaver.

"I just don't want this to happen to anybody else. It hurts too much," said Weaver.

The Sumter County Sheriff's Office is releasing few details. Deputies would only say it started as a grand theft of a horse and turned into an animal cruelty investigation.

Deputies in Manatee County are also investigating another case where a horse was slaughter.

The Manatee County Sheriff's Office said it is looking to identify a person of interest caught on surveillance video looking into horse stables. They are also offering a $13,000 reward for the arrest and conviction in the Dec. 1 horse theft and slaughter case.

Animal Legal Defense Fund and Centennial Farms (Palmetto) are both offering $5,000. Crime Stoppers is offering $3,000 in reward money. To report a tip, call Manatee Crime Stoppers at 866-634-8477(TIPS).

Weaver hopes the person responsible for the slaughter in Sumter County is caught soon.

"To think of all the horses in this huge area and they took her, you know. I want to be selfish and say they should have overlooked her, but she was a huge horse so to them it was a lot of money," said Weaver.