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Horse-tail hair the latest target of local thieves.

Krista Batty shows the length of tail hair stolen from Vinnie last weekend. - Peter W. Rusland
Krista Batty shows the length of tail hair stolen from Vinnie last weekend.
— image credit: Peter W. Rusland

Krista Batty lifts what's left of Vinnie the horse's black tail hair that touched the ground before weekend thieves targeted her five mounts.

"On Saturday they they cut (hair from) two full tails off, and took a chunk out of our three other horses, so the horses must not have stood still," said an angry Batty.

Vinnie's long muzzle also seemed puzzled about his stubby tail now resembling a whisk, rather than a broom.

A similar hair heist — reported to the RCMP — happened in March at the Batty family's spread off Old Lake Cowichan Road. Cuttings have also been taken from horses at other spreads nearby.

Painlessly trimming hair to the end of the tail bone leaves the animals unable to swat flies and other summer pests, Batty explained. It denies owners points for pretty braided tails in competitions too.

"It's also the feeling of violation," added husband, Rob Batty.

That violation spells reduced sale prices for hairless tail horses like Vinnie.

"They're like a three-legged dog," said Batty.

Horse-tail hair grows about six inches a year; Vinnie's tail would take some five years to recover. Thieves may need horsehair for crafts, but "people who need that go to slaughter houses for hair."

She would even give mane trimmings to folks who want it.

"I don't know if they realize how cruel this is. One of our horses is allergic to flies, so it's quite cruel. I heard of it happening somewhere in Calgary, too."

Batty didn't believe the culprits are entering family's fenced property marked with No Trespassing signs.

"They must be giving them treats and reaching through the fence — then it just looks like someone's outside the fence petting the horses."

Police are urging all horse owners to report hair thefts (250-748-5522) "so they know it's not an isolated incident," Batty noted.

The Mounties were unavailable for comment by press time Tuesday.

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