15 Horses Horrifically Mutilated In Sickening "Online Challenge", Police Investigate

15 Horses Horrifically Mutilated In Sickening "Online Challenge", Police Investigate

One of them was attacked by having an eye and its bones removed while still alive

A series of shocking attacks on horses have led French police to hunt down a twisted group of criminals in the country. At least 15 horses have been mutilated and had their body parts removed while they were still alive. Since the start of the year, these horses (and in some cases, donkeys too) have been victim to what is alleged to be a sadistic "online challenge."  The incidents have been most recently reported in the countryside near Lyon. Police officers have not yet released the names of any suspects or the motive behind these attacks, but it is largely speculated to be connected to an insane fetish or ritual. "We do not understand the motivation. Is it a satanic rite, insurance fraud, some macabre trophy hunt or an internet challenge? We don’t know. It is very traumatising," a Paris spokesperson said, according to Reuters.



Daily Mail reported that, on Monday, a mare which had previously died of natural causes was found with its body parts, including the nose, ear, and an eye, removed in the Jura region. Not too long ago, a horse in the same region met with a similar fate before having its eye gouged out and a piece of bone removed, while still alive, leading to the animal dying later. According to the gendarmerie of the Juna region, they have issued an appeal for information on anyone seen acting suspiciously near paddocks, breeding farms, or equestrian centres. "These cases are taken very seriously and are being investigated by the Jura police," they wrote on Facebook. "Every effort is made to identify the authors and put an end to such actions." they added.



Several of these attacks also date back to February this year when a horse was found dead and mutilated at an agricultural school in Château-Salins, near the Alsace region. The poor animal's ears had been "meticulously" removed, according to the France Bleu. Just a few days later, on the other side of the country, a racehorse was discovered killed with an ear missing in the Vendée region, south of Nantes. The owner of the racehorse, Philippe Boutin, told France's Channel 3 that there were obvious signs of a struggle in the field. However, it was a formidable horse and it would have taken a group of people to bring the horse down. 



Unfortunately, these attacks continue to increase in recent weeks, with at least five incidents being reported since the start of the month. What makes this a baffling mystery is that these attacks are not specific to a region, and have been reported across the east, west, and north of the country. Similarly, in 2016, a case of killing and mutilation was reported in the neighboring country of Belgium where a horse had its ear cut off, and in 2014 another case occured in France at Usson-en-Forzen. Over at the UK, such incidents have been rare but not unheard of. In 2012, police reported an attack had taken place in Cornwall where an animal was killed in connection to Satanic rituals. 



Law enforcement authorities in Roanne, near Lyon, where the most recent case was discovered told the press that they had managed to link the latest horse mutilation to "about 15 other mysterious acts of torture and mutilations of live horses around France these last weeks."  Bruno Wallart of the police in Riom in the Puy-de-Dome region of central France, where several horses have reportedly been mutilated, questioned in June, "Is this a challenge on the internet? The impulse of an individual? All avenues are being investigated"  Local investigations are backed by the Central Office on the Fight against Threats to Environmental and Public Health of the French national police.


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