SUMTER COUNTY, Fla. - A Central Florida family wants justice after they said their beloved horse, Jayda, was stolen and likely slaughtered for her meat.
Tamara Weaver, of Sumterville, told FOX 35 News that she received a call on Wednesday that the fence of the pasture where 10-year-old Jayda was kept was cut and she was gone.
After calling police, a friend of Weavers' tracked what appeared to be Jayda's hoofprints across the street and down a road where another fence was cut.
Hours later, a horrifying discovery was made: Jayda was found dead.
Weaver says they've had Jayda since she was less than a year old. While Jayda is her daughter's horse, she was loved by every member of the family.
"Jayda was very loving and friendly with people she knew. I can not believe she went with them willingly," Weaver said. "She was my happiness and my joy. She is missed by everyone that knew her. She was very special to us."
The Sumter County Sheriff's Office is investigating this as an animal cruelty case. They have also issued a warning to horse owners after similar incidents have been reported around the state.
It was just a few weeks ago that FOX 35 News spoke with an Ocala family whose horse, named HotRod, was attacked and found mutilated on Thanksgiving. "It's devastating families. It's a loss that can't be replaced," said Weaver.
The Sumter County Sheriff's Office is now performing extra patrols on properties that house livestock. To have your property added to the list, contact Analyst Billy Bowles at 352-569-1695. The sheriff's office is asking anyone with information to call them. "I just ope somebody as the strength and the guts to come forward," Weaver said.