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Trenton police on path of pony tail snipper

Mark Hicks
The Detroit News

Nicole West couldn’t believe what she saw when returning this week to feed the four horses that are part of her operation at Elizabeth Park in Trenton.

The three ponies and an older equine — Pistol, 4; Nugget and Crystabell, both 8; and Cash, 12 — all had their lustrous blond tails trimmed significantly.

“I was sick to my stomach when I saw it,” said West, who has been the Children’s Pony Ranch owner and operator since last year. “I was angry. ... It felt like somebody broke into my house and hurt my animals.”

Now, Trenton police are seeking information on someone they accuse of shearing the tresses.

And supporters are requesting donations online to help pay for insect sprays, fly sheets and gear as the mares and gelding grow back their hair.

Considering the creatures lost between seven and 12 inches, “they’re not going to be able to keep the bugs away in the summer,” West said. “It’s going to take at least a year to grow back.”

Someone allegedly removed the locks at the spot near the Detroit River between 3:30 p.m. Monday and the same time the next day, Trenton police said in a post on their Facebook page.

Anyone with information on the deed is asked to contact the Detective Bureau at (734) 676-3825.

The chop was the first such problem for the horses, who were in a barn area with a high fence around it, West said. She suspects the culprits, as in other cases reported elsewhere, were driven by greed. “It happens all over the country here and there — people cutting off the ponies’ tail for profit.”

As police probe the case, West and her colleagues are exploring ways to boost security.

Meanwhile, the horses known for giving rides to children in the warmer months are under constant supervision, she said. “When they’re outside, we’re right there.”

The clipping hasn’t escaped notice online.

By early Friday, the Trenton Facebook post had been shared nearly 500 times and generated about 80 comments.

The responses ranged from heartbroken to comedic.

“This is so sad,” one user wrote. “They need their hair to swat away flies/mosquitoes. Horrible for someone to do this.”

Another commented: “ ... People are idiots but glad the ponies were not hurt.”

Some jokingly suggested the crime was motivated by a need to find inexpensive hair extensions. “Horrible, look for someone with a new weave,” one post read.

Others swatted aside the news. “Don’t get me wrong, I love animals and think that this is terrible,” one user posted. “But I feel very fortunate to live in a community where this is a story.”

At the GoFundMe page, supporters have raised about $400 of a $1,000 goal.

“I hope they find whoever is responsible for this and prosecute them,” one donor wrote.

mhicks@detroitnews.com

(313) 222-2117