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(BETHANY, Mo.) Quigley was more than a four-year-old miniature horse to Steve and Lisa Tharp. Quigley was family.
"People don't realize these are our babies. They're not horses to us," Steve said.
That's why the pain of losing Quigley is almost unbearable.
"I got him when he was a few months old. He was my first. He was like a little 2 year old all the time," Lisa said. "He would have probably been with me until my days are over. And he's not here."
Why Quigley is no longer here is an answer Steve and Lisa are desperate to find.
Quigley was found dead Sunday morning in a pasture on the Tharp's farm in the small northwest Missouri town of Bethany.
Police said the horse was shot in the neck and that an eye, ear and the genitals had been cut out.
"The eye was perfectly removed," Steve said. They skinned him from his belly up and they never cut one piece of meat. A surgeon couldn't have done a better job."
"I went to the knees. It just made me sick to the stomach. I just couldn't comprehend. I didn't even believe he was telling me the truth," Lisa said.
The Tharps believe whoever killed Quigley knew where to find the horse.
"These people had to know where those ponies were," Steve said. "It can't be a random thing."
Bethany police are investigating and a GoFundMe page has been set up to raise money for a reward that leads to an arrest.
"This is sad," Steve said. "I have to watch my wife sit there and cry. She doesn't say why did they take my pony, she says why did they take my boy. What am I supposed to tell her? I hate to say this but whoever did this, I hope they hurt as bad as we do some day."
For now, the Tharps will continue to live with the pain of the loss of Quigley but Steve said they determined to find the person behind the brutal killing.
"Everybody says rest in peace Quigley. He's not in peace. He will not be in peace until I catch the SOB that done this. And I will not stop.
They picked on the wrong people because this is not just a horse, this is our boy and we will fight for our family."