Alaska State Troopers are searching for an individual who allegedly sexually molested a horse at the Tanana Valley State Fair early Saturday morning after a veterinarian concluded that the animal suffered injuries to its sexual organs likely caused by a person, not by the horse itself or another horse.
The female horse was left overnight in the stables at the Tanana Valley Fairgrounds in Fairbanks. The horse, a 10-year-old sorrel quarter horse with the registered name Oh Shirley You Just, is simply called Shirley and belongs to the 4H youth development program.
On Saturday morning around 5:30 a.m. a person staying in an RV nearby heard "a disturbance coming from the stable area," said Beth Ipsen, a spokeswoman for the Alaska State Troopers. The person went to investigate and found the horse outside its stable.
The stables were left unlocked in case of a fire, Ipsen said.
Ipsen wrote Wednesday the injuries were not immediately apparent -- one reason the incident wasn't reported right away. The horse's two riders filed a complaint with both the Alaska State Troopers and fair security about the incident, and troopers alerted the public of a possible horse molestation on Tuesday morning.
The horse was initially examined by a veterinarian technician. A certified veterinarian later examined the horse's injuries and reported the results Tuesday.
"The exam showed injuries to the vagina that are not possible for the horse to inflict them upon herself and it doesn't appear she had any other contact with other horses," Ipsen wrote via email on Tuesday. The horse is "doing well now," she added.
The Tanana Valley State Fair wrote in a statement Tuesday that the fair had "just been informed" of the incident.
Tanana Valley State Fair General Manager Jill Falldin said Wednesday the fair hires security guards to patrol the grounds. Three guards were patrolling the barn and animal section of the fair at the time of the incident, she said.
Falldin declined to comment further, saying the fair is investigating the case and that "we know nothing" at this point.
Anyone with information should call Troopers at 451-5100.
Contact Laurel Andrews at firstname.lastname@example.org