Authorities seek horse-dragging suspect
Man tied horse to truck, dragged it, then kicked it in neck, witness says.
Bastrop County authorities are looking for a man who they believe tied a horse to the back of his truck, drove away and dragged it for more than 100 yards when the animal couldn’t keep up. The horse survived and is recovering at a rescue ranch for horses near Seguin.
According to an arrest affidavit, a witness told a Bastrop County officer that on Nov. 10, he saw Mariano Resendiz Villafuerte tie the horse to the receiver hitch of his truck and drive away at a high rate of speed on Mesa Drive in Del Valle, causing the horse to fall.
The witness told the officer that Villafuerte finally stopped the truck, got out and began kicking the horse in the neck until it stood up.
Deputy Sheriff Conor Brown initially responded to the call, said Sissy Jones, a spokeswoman for the sheriff’s department. “He talked to the suspect but Deputy Brown was busy addressing the health of the horse when the suspect walked away into the night and couldn’t be found,” said Jones.
The next day, a warrant was issued for Villafuerte’s arrest charging him with misdemeanor cruelty to animal. The charge was increased on Wednesday to cru- elty to livestock by tripping, a state felony, due to the horse being dragged while he was on the ground, Jones said.
Now, the 6-year-old male paint horse is recovering and doing well at Meadow Haven Horse Rescue in Nixon, about 20 miles south of Seguin in Gonzalez County. Dragster, as the horse is affectionately called by workers at the rescue, lost skin and has a hole in one of his shoulders, said Darla Cherry, who runs the horse rescue.
“When I initially got him on Monday of this week, my response was ‘wow, oh my God. How could anyone do this to an animal?’ I cannot imagine what he looked like when this first happened to him,” said Cherry.
The horse also has a bump on his knee that makes him “unsound,” which means he can’t be ridden, Cherry said. “Other than that, he’s great. He’s not afraid of people.”
Cherry said the horse was initially treated by a veterinarian, then the sheriff ’s office called to see if she’d take him. When she posted graphic photos of Dragster’s injuries on her Facebook page, horse lovers rallied. Some sent donations for his care through her website, www.mead owhavenhorserescue. com.
“A lot of people were angry and many questioned whether law enforcement was doing enough to catch this guy,” she said.
Jones said Villafuerte was last seen driving a white 2002 Ford F150 with license plate BU13787. Some people who follow Cherry on Facebook this week posted a photo of a man standing behind a truck bearing that license plate.
Dragster will take about six months to recover. If his knee heals, he can be used for pleasure riding, Cherry said, and she will try to find him permanent home.
Darla Cherry of Meadow Haven Horse Rescue in Nixon says Dragster will take six months to recover.
Charles Attal removed trees along his fence in April.