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Waupaca Co. authorities look for leads from public in horse molestation case

The Waupaca County Law Enforcement Center in Waupaca, Wis. is seen on Dec. 1, 2015. (WLUK/Bill Miston)

Waupaca County authorities are looking for the public's help after a horse was molested over the weekend.

The area that police say a pregnant mare was sexually assaulted between Saturday night and Sunday morning was on a property near Crain Rd. and County Highway T in the Town of Lebanon, just north of New London. The owner said his horses were spooked and only called police after a veterinarian's examination.

"One of his mares - that was actually pregnant - was actually bleeding from the back," said Waupaca County Sheriff Brad Hardel. "After the vet did his examination, he said the owner should call us, because, obviously, there was some malicious vandalism."

While the horse and her foal are expected to survive, the incident is a type of "vandalism" Hardel says is unfortunately not the first type of case to come out of the county.

"We have had some similar type incidents years ago, so, unfortunately, we've seen it before and obviously, our process here is to resolve this as quickly as possible. The last thing we want is someone out there that's doing this."

"Is there anything that leads the department to believe who and the number?" I asked him.

"Not really," he said. "Obviously, we can't speculate too early on who it might be. We obviously look at past instances and you can look at suspects that you know - absolutely. And we're doing that. But, you have to be open-minded also."

Hardel says his department has spoken to a person of interest, but no one is in custody.

Hardel says forensic evidence has been collected and sent to the state crime lab for analysis, just as would be done in a sexual assault case. He says that evidence should aid investigators. But animal DNA is also involved. That evidence had to be sent to a second lab for analysis.

In the meantime, Hardel asks the public to get in touch if they have information.

"If they saw anything that they either think was suspicious or maybe if they don't think it was suspicious, but they saw something that might help us, we would certainly like them to contact us."

Police ask those with any information, to call the county's non-emergency number at (715) 258-4466.

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