KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- It’s theft and cruelty to animals rolled into one crime.
That's what horse owners in Wyandotte County are saying, after finding six of their animals with their tail hair clipped off and stolen.
Stealing a horse's tail hair is like cutting off a person's limb. That statement came from Christine Mason, a horse owner, who says she’s spent the past month keeping special watch over her animals. Mason says someone's been breaking in, and robbing those horses of their valuable tail fur.
“Before they cut (one horse’s) tail, it was down to her feet,” Mason said, gesturing to one animal.
They're defenseless animals, and Mason says she's going to stick up for them.
Mason owns one of the 12 horses stabled on a plot of land near Quindaro Park on 34th Street in KCK. Over the past six weeks, she and other horse owners have noticed hair missing from the tails of six of these animals.
Mason believes thieves are clipping hair from their tails, perhaps to use the stolen hair as extensions for human hair.
“Whoever's doing this, I hope they rot. She doesn't deserve that. She hasn't done anything to anybody,” Mason said.
Mason says horses with white, brown and black hair has been popular victims for thieves, which leads her to suspect the stolen fur is being used as hair weaves. A horse's tail hair is for more than looks. Mason explains horses use it to protect themselves from insects, and to communicate with other horses.
“Horse tails, when they're cleaned really well, are just as soft as hair. Regular hair,” Mason explained.
Mason and other horse owners have reported the thefts to KCK Police, but there are no clues as to who's doing this.
“It's crazy. It doesn't make sense,” Albert H. Walker, who works as a caretaker at the stables, told FOX 4 News.
Walker has worked with horses for the past 15 years, and he’s flabbergasted by this cruelty. He says seen horses with their tail hair cut all the way to the cartilage at the tip.
“How would you like it, to me, if someone came and whacked one of your hands off? Or one of your arms off? You use that to defend yourself with,” Walker exclaimed.
Mason fears it will take some horses a decade to regrow their useful tail hair. Walker also says someone's been taking the expensive food he provides for those horses, and he’s considering installing better lighting and surveillance cameras at the stables, which he says he can’t easily afford.
If you know who's behind these thefts, please call the Kansas City Crimestoppers tipline at 816-474-TIPS.