Lowell area family still in shock after horse’s shooting death
by Lori Caldwell and Carrie Napoleon firstname.lastname@example.org|648-3258 May 31, 2012 4:22PM
Racehorse "Lady May Z" was found shot to death on her owner's farm near Lowell Tuesday May 29, 2012. | Provided photo~Sun-Times Media
Updated: July 6, 2012 9:53AM
LOWELL — Shock. Sadness. Fear.
Those are just some feelings Heidi Geib, business partner James Woodley, and her two children ages 14 and 9, have been dealing with since Tuesday when someone came onto their 32-acre Lowell-area farm and shot their beloved racehorse Lady May Z between the eyes.
The 8-year-old Standardbred pacer, who was about to return to racing after a winter off, was shot to death on Geib’s practice track near where another of the farm’s horses was grazing. The second horse was uninjured.
Geib is still trying to fathom what would make someone do something so cruel to a horse she described as a gentle soul with a big personality.
“When she was in the lot with other horses she was the boss. …With people she was wonderful,” she said.
May Z, as they called her around the farm, was the only big horse Geib would let her 9-year-old daughter handle. The two were practically raised together. Lady May Z came to the farm when she was just one month old and has been there ever since.
“My daughter, it was her favorite horse. She was the first big horse we let her handle. That’s how gentle she was. I haven’t had a chance really to get upset about it, I’m angry,” Geib said, adding she is also concerned. Geib will not let her children outside to play and does not intend to put any of her horses in the lots that are out of sight.
A shooting of this nature is a rarity. Geib has lived on the farm most of her life and has never had a problem with attacks on the animals there. The family knows the adjacent property owners, many who have been there since she was a child.
“This is the farm I grew up on. This is the first time anybody has deliberately hurt one of our animals. And it was deliberate,” Geib said.
Detective Michelle Dvorscak, with the Lake County Sheriff Department’s animal cruelty detail, said in her 10 years working in animal cruelty, she has never come across an incident where a person had shot a horse to death.
“Hopefully this is just an isolated incident. This was a very difficult target to reach in the middle of the field. You would have to put some effort in it,” Dvorscak said.
The investigation into the shooting and the hunt for the killer will pursue in the same way as any murder investigation since the crime, killing a domestic animal, is a Class D felony. Right now police are waiting for the results of a necropsy from Purdue University, where the animal’s remains were sent, before continuing.
“We can’t go forward with the investigation until that happens,” Dvorscak said. From the necropsy officials will learn key elements of the crime including the caliber of the bullet, a possible weapon type and the trajectory of the bullet, just where the horse was in relation to the shooter.
She declined to comment on details of the investigation such as whether or not police found footprints, tire marks or other markings at the scene.