Officials confirm horse fatally shot

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by PHYLLIS MCLAUGHLIN, Special to The Spencer Magnet
On Thursday, Feb. 27, the unthinkable happened to John and Judy Shircliff of Gray’s Run Road -- they discovered one of their seven horses lying dead in a remote hollow of their property near Fairfield.
Judy Shircliff said Tuesday their first call was to Sgt. Scott Herndon of the law enforcement division of Kentucky Fish and Wildlife.
Herndon went to the property that day and checked the animal, then brought retired veterinarian Gerry Dill the next day for an expert opinion. The men agreed that the animal had been dead five to 10 days. They also agreed that the 10-year-old all-white mare had been shot, either by a high-powered rifle from no more than 100 yards away or by a handgun at close range.
“It wasn’t a shotgun,” Herndon said Tuesday. “We don’t know if it was a hunting accident or an intentional act. There’s no way for us to know.”
Herndon said that coyote season is still open, and the shot could have been accidental. He said this is appears to be an isolated incident; no other shootings have been reported and it’s the first such incident to happen in the area for many years.
“The vet confirmed that the horse did not suffer,” Judy Shircliff said, which, in light of everything, was a relief for her to know.
“If it was a tragic accident, we just want [the shooter] to step forward,” she said. “If it’s an accident, it’s forgiven.”
She said she doesn’t want to believe it could have been intentional, but “I don’t know what to think. If it was a stray shot, that’s scary. If not, that’s even more scary. But the bottom line is, my horse is dead. ... The fact that I don’t know what happened is what hurts me the most.”
The incident remains under investigation by the Kentucky State Police. The Shircliffs have offered a reward for any information that could lead to the truth of what happened.
Anyone with information may call Herndon at (502) 492-3166 or KSP Trooper Mitch Harris at (502) 564-4473.