Police in France have detained a man suspected of attacking and mutilating horses. The country has been shocked by a nationwide string of vicious attacks on the animals over the past few months.
The suspect, reportedly a 50-year-old man, was detained on Monday in France’s eastern department of Haut-Rhin.
The man was apprehended after law enforcement circulated a computer-generated image of the suspect, a police source told AFP, based on information from an eyewitness.
The police sketch was created after two men infiltrated a stable in the Yonne department of central France. Two ponies were injured during the attack, sustaining large knife wounds. The assailants were confronted by the stable manager, Nicolas Demajean, who also suffered injuries during the incident, but was able to describe one of the suspects to the police.
Over the weekend, a major manhunt was launched in the eastern Cote-d’Or region, after a stable owner alerted police after two individuals trespassed on his property and injured one horse. A 40-officer-strong team of gendarmes, backed up by police dogs and even a helicopter, were dispatched to the scene, but failed to locate either suspect.
“The operation is over, now we are investigating our findings,” a police spokesman said on Monday.
Some 20 horses have been attacked and killed in the past few months across France. The animals were often found with their ears torn off, eyes gouged out and genitals cut off. The attackers had been particularly active in August, despite media attention and the police investigation.
The vicious and inexplicably cruel attacks have drawn a wave of outrage in France, especially as the police were unable to apprehend any suspects for weeks. As incidents occurred all across the country, it prompted speculation that more than two people might be involved. Some even alleged that a ‘satanic cult’ of some sort might be behind this cruelty, however no actual evidence has emerged to back up such claims.
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