Nearly a month after a brutal and bizarre attack on a group of horses at an equestrian center in Fairfax County, detectives are still trying to figure out who would slash animals that are used for therapy for autistic children.
However, if there's an upside to this tragedy, it's how it has brought the community together at the Spirit Open Equestrian Park. Donations have made it possible to install new security and post a $1,000 reward to help catch the culprit.
During the last week of April, an unknown culprit stabbed three horses, leaving the animals with large, open wounds. The recovery for the horses continue. On Friday, doctors from The Hope Center for Advanced Veterinary Medicine gave the horses free eye exams.
The healing for the people who love the horses continues as well, which provide therapeutic rides for mentally and physically handicapped children.
"It allows them to explore something about themselves they may never have realized and as teachers we would never see in a classroom," Anne Doggett, a teacher at nearby Marshall Road Elementary School, said.
For 10-year-old Jackson Eachus and his mother, Beth, explaining what happened to the horses was extremely difficult.
"Therapeutic riding has been a huge difference to many of these children," Beth said. "He was able to look at the wound and know something was wrong, and said 'Horses hurt, horses hurt.'"
Unfortunately, it will be a while before Jackson and his friends are able to ride again because of the seriousness of the wounds, which were as big as six to eight inches.
"This was a brutal attack, and so deep," Dr. Katy Nelson, who hosts The Pet Show on NewsChannel 8, said. "It's going to take a while to heal."