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Criminals Stealing Hair From Horses' Tails

Last updated on Friday, April 26, 2013

(UNDATED) - Horse owner Deb McEnery, of rural Linton, says it’s a senseless crime that really harms the equine.

Nick Schneider of the Greene County Daily World reports that the unusual crime is horse hair theft.

McEnery, who has five horses at her farmstead located west of Linton just off of State Road 54, is a victim and she'd like to see the perpetrators caught and prosecuted.

Last October, she had a yearling horse seriously injured with an arrow wound to the chest. A closer examination of a stallion that was in the same field with the philly showed that several inches of the horse's tail had been looped off.

"They dropped him (the small horse). The arrow went five or six inches into her chest. They went out and retrieved the arrow and left him there. That is cold and calculating if you ask me. Even if it was an accident, they could have stepped forward and said 'Oh, I screwed up and I'm really sorry'." she said.

The young horse miraculous recovered.

The stallion's tail has grown back some, but it's still six or eight inches shorter than it should be if it was left to grow naturally.

McEnery said a friend's horse suffered a similar plight at the hands of a devious individual.
Karen White, who lives near the small Sullivan County community of Cass, located northwest of Dugger, is also a victim.

She had several inches of hair cut off the tail of one of her tri-colored Paint horses about a week ago.

"I was shocked when I saw it. I brush the horses every day, so I know it was missing," she told the Greene County Daily World. "It kind of made me mad that someone would do this."

White says the horse was clipped at night in a pasture located a couple hundred yards from her home.

White owns 13 head of horse and said she doesn't understand why someone would be so cruel and brazen to trespass inside of an electric fence to do this crime.

The incident was reported to Conservation law officials with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources.
This is not the first time her herd of horses has been victims of crime.

Six of seven years ago, someone in the night killed one of her horses in the night with a gunshot .22 caliber gunshot wound and serious injured another with a blast of a deer slug from a shotgun.

"We never did find out who did it," she added.

White's horse hair theft incident prompted McEnery, her friend, to check into the crime a little more.

She found a site on the Internet based in Utah that advertised it was buying horse hair - paying $230 a pound.

Horse hair is used to make horse tack, hat bands, belts, violin bows and other products. Manufacturers of mass-produced items typically buy horse hair in bulk from suppliers in China, who get it from slaughterhouses or live horses.

But handcrafted horse bridles - where horse hair is knit or braided together into a cord in a technique known as hitching -- can sell for $1,500 to $3,000.

Manufacturers typically purchase it in bulk from suppliers in China, but McEnerythere appears to be a growing Black Market for horse hair ---- especially white colored hair.

On one website ---- hairwork.com ---- one pound of white, 3- to 4-foot-long horse hair was priced at $266. White hair is worth more because it can be dyed other colors.

Black and brown hair is less expensive, priced on the site at $74 per pound for the same length.

"This thing is escalating. There have been reports all over the U.S. of horse's hair being taken and horses being injured," Deb said. "It really is detrimental to the animals. The reason they grow that hair is to help them fight flies."

McEnery hopes something can be done to stop this crime.

"I think if we could connect the dots just a little bit we may be able to put an end to this, at least locally," she said. "It's nuts. People groom their horses all of the time and trim their tails up some. If people would just ask, they could probably have some hair.

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