Local News

Still No Arrests In Investigation Of Horse Set On Fire

Posted September 21, 2005

— More than a month after a Harnett County horse's tail was burned, investigators have yet to make an arrest in the case.

Authorities believe teenage girls used hairspray or perfume to start the fire, but so far, no one has been arrested.

"I don't think juveniles should be able to get away with this," said Vonda Hamilton, who owns Dixie, a 2-year-old spotted saddle horse. "I think if you commit a crime, no matter how old you are, you should do the time, period. This isn't 'I wrote on the bathroom wall.' This is 'I maimed something for life.'"

Dozens of e-mails and calls have poured into the Harnett County Sheriffs Office accusing investigators of dragging their feet, but Sheriff Larry Rollins says that is not the case.

Rollins says all investigators are getting is hearsay from teenagers and that they do not have enough evidence to charge anyone with the crime.

"We are going to get there," Rollins said. "I feel confident in that, but we are not going to jump fast to make an arrest."

Investigators are now looking into allegations of intimidation. Melody Lee said her daughter heard some students bragging about what they did. She says they have since threatened her. Even though she is scared, she has still offered to help detectives.

"What they've done to this animal is wrong and she knows it's wrong," Lee said.

Meanwhile, Dixie is getting better and her veterinarian says she is no longer in danger of dying. The animal now has her appetite back and the infection in her leg is healing.

Still, the horse's life will never be the same. Dixie's tail had to be amputated and she continues to need daily care. Without a tail to swat flies, she will now have to wear a "fly sheet" all the time.

"I think she's going to have her life, be as happy as possible and probably be a little spoiled," Hamilton said.

Hamilton hopes now that those responsible will be punished for what they are accused of doing.

The reward for information leading to an arrest is now up to $1,250. Authorities are urging anyone with information about the case to call the Harnett County Sheriff's Office at

(910) 893-9111


Medical bills and supplies for Dixie's care are already close to $10,000. Hamilton has received about $4,000 in donations.


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