Courts & Crime

Horse valued at $20,000 found shot dead at Texas ranch

A 7-month-old filly from a line of champion professional cutting horses was found dead Sunday morning, shot in the head at her owners' Parker County ranch.

The horse, named Bald-Face Lie, was discovered by a trainer and ranch hand shortly after 10:30 a.m. in a fenced pasture about 30 yards from the 2400 block of Fox Road. The area is west of Weatherford.

Sheriff's investigators believe the filly had been shot with a high-powered rifle between late Saturday and early Sunday.

"They just pulled up there and stopped and shot it," said Parker County Sheriff Larry Fowler. "You might call this a very large, cowardly act."

Kris Larsen, who owns the 72 Ranch with her fiance, Billy Martin, said Bald-Face Lie was in the pasture with more than a dozen other horses when she was shot. Larsen said she last saw the horse about 6:30 p.m. Saturday as the filly fed with the other horses.

"We're just numb," Larsen said. "It was no accident. She was shot right between the eyes. The veterinarian verified the shot was close-range. It wasn't from 300 yards away. They shot her right from the road."

Fowler said deputies were canvassing the area Monday in search of anyone who might have heard the shot or seen anything suspicious.

Larsen said she has no idea what prompted the shooting or whether it might have been a prank.

"That would be the worst prank I could ever think of," Larsen said. "I can't imagine anybody taking pleasure or sport in that."

Bald-Face Lie was bred from the couple's champion cutting horses Light N Lena and Playboy's Special Copy. "I was with the mare when this baby was born," Larsen said. "I weaned her and halter-broke her. I get very emotionally attached to the horses."

Though still considered a yearling and a year away from training, the filly was already valued at $20,000.