VIRGINIA

Three therapy horses attacked with knife in Fairfax County

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Fairfax County Police are asking for your help in finding the person who attacked three horses with a knife at Frying Pan Park on Centreville Road .

One of the therapy horses attacked in Fairfax County. (Photo: Spirit Open Equestrian Program)

The horses, who survived the attack, are part of the Spirit Open Equestrian Program that provides therapeutic rides for emotionally and physically disabled children.

The caretakers at the Spirit Open Equestrian Program are still in shock.

The small farm is right next to a very popular county park and a pre-school in western Fairfax County.

Late Wednesday night or early Thursday morning someone walked into the pen and attacked three horses.

The horses were stabbed several times, leaving large open gashes.

"Somebody uses a very sharp knife and literally stabs two ponies," says Davorka Suvak, Founder, Spirit Open Equestrian Program. "Hopefully the big one fought back."

The wounds were large and deep

"You could see muscle and stuff I truly didn't want to see and would rather not see again, six to eight inches gaping open," says Jeffery Wallace, a volunteer

For the past five years, the horses have been providing an opportunity for children and adults with severe disabilities a way to exercise and enjoy nature.

"The autistic kids get out of their shell and kids that can't play get the movement from the horses," Wallace says.

Neighbors of the park can't believe someone would attack the horses.

"I've been living here 14 years, it's unbelievable someone would do that. It's unfathomable," says Bob Cloutier.

"This had to be a sick person," says Jeanne Esmond. "These are very gentle animals. I've seen them with the kids. They're very gentle and very sweet."

The staff at the Spirit Open Equestrian Program is worried that whoever did this will strike again and that next time the attacker could target a child.

"Whoever did this to our horses could do it again to anyone else," Suvak says.

They plan on beefing up security here, they've even ordered surveillance cameras.

A neighboring farm has offered to loan them horses in order to keep providing therapy while the horses heal, but they don't have any small horses, which are used by the kids, so they've had to cancel all classes.

Fairfax Police are asking anyone who may have been on the nature trail early Thursday morning to call, even if you didn't see the attack.

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