Updated: Troopers seek public's help in finding Fairbanks horse molester

Casey Grove

Update, 11 a.m. Wednesday: Alaska State Troopers are encouraging members of the public to come forward with information on a suspect in the apparent molestation early Sunday of a 10-year-old mare quarter horse that was to be shown at the Tanana Valley State Fair in Fairbanks.

A certified veterinarian examined the horse, whose registered name is Oh Shirley You Just, and found vaginal injuries "not consistent" with the horse hurting itself, troopers spokeswoman Beth Ipsen said late Tuesday. Shirley, as she is known, was also not near other horses, Ipsen said. Another horse owner heard something about 5:30 a.m. Sunday, she said.

"By putting bits of information together, it is suspected that someone, at the time of the disturbance, got into the stall and did something to the horse," Ipsen said. "The stall is part of a row of stalls that is not in an enclosed livestock barn like they are for the other livestock at the fair, but in a separate area of the fairgrounds. That is normal for fairs."

Wooden stalls, with hay on the ground, are susceptible to fire and left unlocked, so as to move the horses out faster, Ipsen said.

So far, there have been no arrests or suspects named.

Troopers ask anyone with information to call their Fairbanks post at (907) 451-5100.

"We did receive some tips yesterday and we're still looking for more," Ipsen said.


Original story:

Someone sexually abused a female horse at the Tanana Valley State Fair in Fairbanks early Sunday, according to Alaska State Troopers.

Investigators are now looking for help from the public in catching the suspect, troopers said Tuesday.

About 5:30 a.m. Sunday, a concerned person camping heard noises at the fair's nearby livestock barn, troopers spokeswoman Beth Ipsen said. The person went inside and found the horse outside its stall, Ipsen said.

"It appeared to be injured," she said. "An injury to the vaginal area."

The person eventually alerted the horse's owner, who took it to a veterinarian for an examination. The apparent horse molestation was reported to troopers Monday. Ipsen said she did not know the horse's age or breed or the name of the owner, who was going to show it at the fair.

"We got the results back from the veterinarian and its injuries are not consistent with any injuries it could have caused to itself," Ipsen said. "It wasn't in contact with another horse."

Ipsen said she did not know the horse's condition late Tuesday. She said troopers believe a person assaulted the horse. "The owner of the horse lodged a complaint with fair security."

Jill Falldin, general manager of the Tanana Valley State Fair, said she had not been contacted by the troopers investigating the incident, which she described as "a rumor." Falldin said the horse involved was a quarter horse. Ipsen said the horse is reddish-brown.

The fair hires security guards who patrol the grounds, including the livestock area, through the night, Falldin said. Not all of the horse stalls have locks, she said.

"If the owners choose to put a lock on it, that's their choice. We don't put a lock on it, because it's not our animal," Falldin said. "It's unfortunate that something happened. It's horrible, whether it was let loose or something happened to it."

Troopers ask that anyone with knowledge of how the horse was hurt is asked to call the troopers' Fairbanks post at 1-907-451-5100.

Reach Casey Grove at casey.grove@adn.com or 257-4589.