A Cessnock family is reeling after one of its horses had her tail chopped off in broad daylight.
The incident occurred at a Mount View Road property between 9.30am and 4.30pm Tuesday, October 11.
All was well when Kylie Barker left the property that morning.
But when her husband Chris and daughter Caitlin arrived that afternoon, all but a few strands of Willow’s long blonde tail remained.
“They have missed the dock by a few centimetres, there were cuts on the back of her leg,” Mrs Barker said.
“If they had cut the dock, she would have bled to death.”
Mr Barker said he was appalled and disgusted that someone would do such a thing to a defenceless animal.
“It just doesn’t make any sense,” he said.
“It has to have been a knife – it can’t have been a pair of scissors.”
Eggs containing baby chickens almost ready to be hatched were also stolen.
The Barkers believe two people must have been involved – one to hold Willow, and the other to cut the tail.
“She doesn’t like a lot of people – now she’s very distraught,” Mrs Barker said.
“Whatever they did, they scared the hell out of her.”
Willow, a four-year-old Palomino, is one of four horses the Barkers keep on the Mount View Road property, which is about two minutes from their house.
They spend most mornings, afternoons and weekends there, if they aren’t away showing the horses at hacking and dressage competitions.
Mrs Barker visits the property every morning, to feed the horses and chooks on site.
She said someone must have been watching her and knew her routine, and that she would be sure to mix it up from now on.
The Barkers have kept horses on the property for a few years, and say they have never had any trouble until now.
But recently, they have noticed a rise in illegal dumping on the roadside, and have also found discarded syringes and broken bottles.
They have reported the animal cruelty incident to police and the RSPCA.
“It’s happened in broad daylight,” Mrs Barker said.
“We just hope someone saw something.”
Anyone with information should contact CrimeStoppers on 1800 333 000.