Family in fear after horse shot on Cote Road

Bullet hole on nine-year-old gelding Tico discovered Wednesday night

A Smithers family is worried about their personal safety after one of their horses was shot last Wednesday.

Oscar and Earlene Steinhilbert and their son William rent a home on five acres on Cote Road. They have lived there with three horses for about a year.

On Wednesday afternoon, Oscar noticed their nine-year-old gelding Tico acting differently but it wasn’t until later that night that the bullet hole was discovered.

One bullet grazed Tico’s foot and the other went about an inch and a half into his upper right shoulder.

The Steinhilberts believe the incident happened at about 2 p.m. on June 25, after a neighbour approached them and said they heard at least one shot being fired at that time.

Luckily, Tico wasn’t killed but it could have been much worse, Earlene said. If the bullet had penetrated a little further, it would have shattered the bone. If that had happened, Tico would have been euthanized.

The only reason, the police said, it didn’t penetrate the bone was it was a .22 calibre and they could tell by the size of the hole,” Earlene said.

The horse is expected to make a full recovery.

Even knowing someone is discharging firearms in a rural subdivision like this is scary, Oscar said.

It’s very easy for a .22 bullet to deflect or ricochet off a rock. It could hit the house, it could hit a person,” he said.

The incident has put the family on edge, Oscar said, wondering if the person or persons responsible will return to harm their other animals or even them.

We’re concerned for all of our animals’ safety and we’re concerned about what comes next,” he said.“Our dog? Us?

We’re on guard now, always looking behind our backs.”

The Smithers RCMP attended the scene and are asking for the public’s help to find those responsible.

Was this intentional, or was it a case of someone not being aware of their background while target practicing or was it even a case of good intentions?” the RCMP said in a news release. “Was a dog or wild animal attacking this horse and a Good Samaritan tried to shoot at it to scare it away and the bullet struck the horse by accident?”

The Steinhilberts are offering a $1,000 reward for any information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for the shooting of Tico.

What kind of person would do this to a defenseless animal?” Earlene wondered out loud.

We just want to find out who shot our horse Tico.”