By Sarah Pridgeon
A recent crime involving the theft of horse hair bears similarities to a rash of crimes affecting Converse and Natrona Counties in recent years. According to Sheriff Jeff Hodge, the theft took place near Moorcroft and is under investigation.
Horse hair theft involves taking the hair directly from the animal, according to the sheriff. The thieves simply sneak into the pasture to snip off the tail or mane and are thought to then sell it on the black market.
“For violin strings and fake manes for show horses is where they think a lot of that stuff is going,” Hodge says.
The theft took place on Prairie Road near Moorcroft. “It’s being investigated,” says the sheriff.
Though it is unknown whether the crime is related to those reported in Converse and Natrona Counties, the theft of horse hair has been relatively common in those areas.
“It’s actually been going on down there for quite some time, for the last four or five years, and I think Campbell County had some a couple of years ago,” says Undersheriff Todd Leimser.
Hodge notes that law enforcement in Natrona County was seeking two Hispanic males in relation to the thefts in that area.
While snipping the tail from a horse does not generally harm the animal, it can be a cruel crime in the heat of summer, when the insects are out in force. A horse’s tail is its main defense against flies and other pests.
“There are ranchers tying baling twine onto the horses so at least they’d have something to swish back and forth,” says Hodge.
If you have been affected by the theft of horse tails but have not yet reported the incident to law enforcement, Hodge urges you to do so to enable the Sheriff’s Office to monitor the situation. In the meantime, he advises horse owners to, “Take precautions and pay attention to strange vehicles.”