Deputies investigating dead horse tagged on side of the road

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- A dead horse was vandalized by what appears to be gang tagging. Now Fresno County Sheriff's deputies are investigation the case after Action News began asking questions.

The pictures of this dead horse were sent in by a viewer Friday afternoon. Deputies say the horse was tagged after it died on New Year's Eve. Now it's a matter of figuring out who did this.

Each passing car Friday caught a disturbing glimpse on Buttonwillow north of Adams in Fresno County. The dead horse was tagged with what deputies say is likely the work of local gang members.

"Tagging is illegal, but how someone could do it on an animal I just don't understand," said Liberty Animal Control President Daniel Bailey.

Liberty oversees Fresno County animal services. Bailey says he's disgusted to see how this horse carcass was treated. "You don't just tag on it," he said. "Especially if it's passed away, it's gone, it's dead. Let it rest in peace."

The sheriff's department says the horse broke free from its pen up the road on Wednesday and was struck by a maroon car soon after.

The collision killed the horse and heavily damaged the car. The horse owner called a private company to remove the remains, but as it sat next to the road deputies say someone tagged it and placed a rope around its neck.

Liberty Animal Control says this roadside vandalism is rare. Bailey told Action News the horse owner is not at fault for any of this and the rest of their animals appear fine.

"We went out and we investigated the other animals and checked the other horses," he said. "None of them are tagged, everything seems healthy, it's just an unfortunately incident where the animal got out."

Neighbors say gang activity in the area is concerning. They just never thought a dead horse would become a target.

Liberty says it's a good idea this time of year to walk your property and check all fence posts to make sure your animals are secured.

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