SHAWNEE, Wyo. — The Bright family is grieving the loss of four horses after a suspected poisoning took their lives July 30 on the family’s ranch in Converse County, Wyoming. Livestock investigators for the Wyoming Livestock Board are currently investigating.
Midday Sunday, July 30, the Bright family had observed their horses Snickers, Max, Cash, Doc and Amigo behaving entirely normally. The family had been haying all day, but could easily spot the horses near their corral only 100 feet from their home.
According to security camera footage, at approximately 7:50 that evening, Joe Bright’s children ran into the home screaming.
“I was just like ‘no.’ I figured they were just lying down sleeping. So we went down there and by 8:03 I was on the phone with the Sheriff’s Office and the doggone veterinarian and we had four horses dead and one was next to dead — that was my wife’s horse. We got him up and the vet got out there, took one look at him, and said, ‘Get him to CSU, and get him to CSU right now.'”
Bright and his son loaded Amigo into a trailer and quickly transmitted him to an emergency vet at Colorado State University to be treated. As of Aug. 3, it appears Amigo will make a full recovery.
“A lot of it’s being completely numb and mainly concentrating on doggone trying to put one foot in front of the other every day,” Bright said. “Our 5-year-old is having a really hard time dealing with it. She and our 12-year-old son are who discovered the horses.”
Snickers was their daughter’s horse.
Joe and Lindsy Bright had their July 17 wedding ceremony on horseback. Their horses were an integral part of their lives. Bright said that the personal connection his family has with their horses makes the supposed crime even more heinous. He said he believes that when he posted pictures of their wedding ceremony on Facebook is when the horses became a target.
“The very nature of this has been the most personal thing someone could do. This is not a random thing. This is a personal, ultimate ‘screw you’ thing. I’m not certain what the motivation was behind it, but it was not a random thing,” Bright said.
Bright cites a number of incidents occurring in the past few months where things have turned up missing or tampered with as the preceding actions linked to the crime.
“There are too many people around here and people are coming and going from the gravel pits at all hours of the night. Somebody knew exactly what they were doing, exactly where the security cameras were. I do believe that this was an absolute malicious act of hate.”
Bright said the investigators are still in the process of finding out what occurred, including running labs to determine the exact nature of the horses’ deaths.
The investigation, initially including the Converse County Sheriff’s Office, has now been turned over completely to investigators with the Wyoming Livestock Board. Oil City News reached out to the board for comment, but as of Aug. 5 has not been responded to.
The Bright family is offering a $10,000 reward for assistance in the conviction of the culprit. The family asks that any information that comes to light be reported to the Converse County Sheriff’s Office or the Wyoming Livestock Board.
This is an ongoing story as the investigation is still in progress.