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Seeking justice for Rowdy

by BILL BULEY
Staff Writer | September 28, 2021 1:08 AM

COEUR d’ALENE — Mirah Ferrell has a simple question: Who in their right mind would shoot a horse?

She can’t believe it could happen — except that it did.

“We treat our animals like they’re our kids,” she said Monday. “We give them the best, top-of-the-line care that we can.”

Three-year-old Rowdy was found dead Wednesday morning in the pasture Ferrell rents in the Nettleton Gulch area. She last saw it Tuesday night when she did her usual routine of feeding and checking on her horses. She left about 8:30.

Ferrell got a phone call early Wednesday from a neighbor who said one of Ferrell’s five horses was down and she thought something was wrong.

When Ferrell arrived, she initially thought Rowdy had been attacked and killed by a cougar. But she said there were no claw or scratch marks, only what appeared to be two bullet wounds to the head.

The Kootenai County Sheriff’s Office reported the preliminary investigation indicated the horse was shot twice in the head.

Ferrell, a horse trainer and co-owner of Rowdy with boyfriend Christian O’Neill, said they had high hopes for the horse that they bought last year.

“Chris and I were excited about this one. He was turning out so great, we were excited to be able to throw a leg over him finally. But that was taken,” she wrote in a Facebook post.

They keep horses on the acre-and-a-half they've rented for about three years, and have never had anything bad happen. Ferrell said the neighbors are great and it’s generally quiet.

Rowdy, a quarter horse, was valued at about $5,000. O’Neill bought it when it was about 14 months old.

“It was his dream horse,” Ferrell said. “He had a big career ahead of him."

They trained and cared for Rowdy, and he responded.

“He would be the first to greet you. He was so loving,” she wrote.

Ferrell said they are offering a reward for information leading to the arrest of the shooter.

“We have a lot of people that want to donate,” she said.

“Please help get the word. Thank you to the ones that have shared. I want justice for my boy,” Ferrell wrote.

Friends were equally upset.

“So sorry for your loss. I hope that they find who did it and they are punished for it,” wrote Pat Smith.

“Hugs to you all! I'm so sorry! So senseless! He was such a love and so dang handsome!” wrote Annette Carr.

"I can’t imagine who would have such heart of killing a horse," wrote Jessy Rambri.

KCSO Lt. Mark Ellis said the horse was found about 75-100 yards from the main road. The location of the incident is the 4000 block of North Maple Leaf Road.

He said they have not ruled out a cougar attack, “but nothing points to it being a cougar attack. The wounds are consistent with bullet wounds.”

He said they could not say if someone shot the horse from the road or may have walked on the property to get closer.

Ellis wrote that shooting a horse from a distance would be "a hard shot considering the first one would have made the horse run and thrash around. A follow-up shot to the head of a bucking horse would be hard."

He said there have been no other recent reports of horses being shot in Kootenai County.

Either way, it’s concerning that someone would shoot a horse in the dark like that, Ferrell said.

It angers her that Rowdy’s life was taken by someone who “thought it would be fun to go and shoot a horse.”

She said there are homes in the area.

"Who in their right mind would go around and in a neighborhood and shoot, even if they thought it was a huge deer," she wrote.

She said they've taken some precautions to keep their other horses safe and double-checking to be sure they’re OK.

“It makes you a little uneasy,” she said. “That could have been a human walking out there.”