Many people feel that losing a pet is like losing a member of the family. Right now, a Rockford family is dealing with that loss, made all the more difficult by signs of foul play.
From the time she was three years old, Mercy Goddard grew up riding and loving her pony, Silver, until now. Someone recently snuck into the pony's pasture at the Bergman Therapeutic Riding Center and shot him, point blank in the head.
"I really don't really believe that it's true, I keep expecting to go out there and there he'll be, he's always been there, why wouldn't he be," says Mercy.
But Silver's nameplate is gone, his stall stands emtpy and the family is left heartbroken and looking for answers.
Says Mercy's mother Sally Goddard, "We thought maybe, oh my gosh, could this be a gang initiation type thing and from everyone's expert recommendation, there's certainly no such thing going on."
The Boone County Sheriff's Department is investigating the case. Mercy's mother hopes they'll get to the bottom of it soon. She says, "I know that the people who volunteer and who care for the horses would be so at ease to find out because of course everyone's worried it might happen again."
Silver boarded at the Bergmann Centre where handicapped children rode him to exercise their muscles. He was tame enough to let anyone walk up to him, even holding a weapon.
"I'm angry at whoever did this, why would you do this he's an innocent animal. He's tiny and he's adorable and I just can't believe anybody would do this to him," says Mercy.
The Boone County Sheriff's Department is looking for any leads in the case. If you have any information please call the Boone County Crimestoppers at 547-7867.