Hatred fueled killing of eight horses

Cross-posted from The Columbus Dispatch


Elvis is dead. So are Barney, Floyd, Princess, Buddy, Love, Bella and Ethel. They died on Easter, burned to death in their barn in southern Ohio, when someone set the building on fire after spray painting messages to their owner on the outside.

On a day when many were contemplating everlasting life and candy-bearing bunnies, Brent Whitehouse, who lives with his mother on a farm above the county fairgrounds in McConnelsville, woke to see a flickering orange glow coming from outside. Moments later he was tearing frantically at the door of his barn as flames burst through the roof. He could hear his horses screaming inside but could not get the door open.

The fire was so intense, a tractor inside the barn melted. But what was left on the building, still smoldering the following day, was the remnants of spray paint and its searing message: “ Faggots are freaks,” and, “Burn in hell.”

The Quarter horses Whitehouse raised were like children to him. He says he cannot understand why anyone could kill such innocent creatures. Well, whoever did it obviously thought they were making a point about Whitehouse’s sexual orientation. That because of who they thought he was, his horses deserved to die, shrieking in panic and pain as the flames ran through the barn. That because they thought Whitehouse is gay, his horses should be killed to make a statement about homosexuals.

Buddy was only a week old, standing on spidery, wobbly legs. Love was full with her own foal, due any moment.

The capacity for cruelty of this magnitude in the heartland of America should be a wake-up call for anyone who cares about the welfare of animals and the rights of all of us to love whomever we want. Killing these horses most assuredly killed whatever shred of decency might have been in the heart of the person or people who tossed the match. And now that they have murdered these beautiful animals, who knows where they’ll go next? Maybe Reno, Nev., where a couple of guys out drinking shot up a group of 10 wild Mustang horses with an AR-15 semiautomatic rifle for kicks a couple of years ago. Or Laramie, Wyo., where 21-year-old Matthew Shepard was viciously beaten, tied to a fence and left to die because he was gay. Continue reading >>

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