A family in Florida found their horse slaughtered in what authorities called a "horrific crime."
Officers were called at around 8 a.m. Friday morning to a pasture in the Naples area after the horse's remains were found.
"Someone entered the pasture sometime between midnight and 5 a.m. and led the horse to a neighboring pasture where they butchered the animal," the Collier County Sheriff's Office said, saying that they believe that "the suspect or suspects were after the horse’s meat."
Owners of the horse, named Whip, said they bought it when it was 4-years old and have had the animal for eight years. The owners live next door to the empty lot where Whip's remains were found, NBC affiliate WBBH in Fort Myers reported.
“My husband went out this morning to feed the horses and he noticed one of them was gone," Jamie Doria, one of the horse's owners, told WBBH. "They went looking for them in the woods, and he had been slaughtered and all his meat and his skin was gone.”
The sheriff's office is investigating the horse's death along with investigators from other counties where similar crimes have happened. The Florida Agricultural Crimes Intelligence Unit is also helping with the investigation, Sheriff Kevin Rambosk said in a statement.
Rambosk added that Collier County deputies have increased their presence in areas where residents have horses.
Whip's owners told WBBH they are offering a $12,600 reward for anyone with information that can help catch whoever killed the horse.
“He’s a part of our family, he’s my partner," Doria said. "He’s not just a horse, he’s not just an animal, he’s a family member. He was my barrel racing horse. He was fun to ride and he just had a really good personality.”