Connecticut State Police have launched an investigation after neighbors in Stafford Springs complained a man pulled his horse behind his pickup truck with a rope.
Culver Modisette, the 86-year-old horse owner, told Channel 3 he's "not very familiar" with Annie his pure bred Arabian horse and meant no harm.
Irate neighbors said the horse could have died, but Modisette said the animal is currently in fine health.
Modisette said the horse got loose early Sunday morning, venturing to a neighbor's house next door in hopes of mating with the male horses there, he said.
"What else was I going to do?" asked Modisette. "I've got to bring her down, I can't leave her up there."
Modisette used a nylon strap to attach the horse to the back of his pickup truck.
"I was just trying to get her down in her stable for her breakfast and apples and so forth," Modisette said. "No malicious intent."
Helen Kelley, who said she saw Modisette tie the horse to the bumper of the truck, worried for the animal's safety. She snapped several photographs appearing to show the horse stumbling and then falling to its side on the ground.
"I started screaming to him, 'Stop, you're killing your horse, cut the rope!'" she said.
Modisette did, and said he was able to walk the animal to her stable without further incident.
"I regret that I put her on the back of the truck, that was a mistake, but what else was I going to do?" Modisette said. "She just about threw me across the woods when I tried to walk her down."
But Kelley and her husband fear it could have been much worse.
"Really, he could've broken her neck," she said. "It was a sad thing to watch."
Both State Police and the Stafford Springs animal control officers are now investigating.
State Police Lt. Paul Vance said Modisette simply secured the mare in heat to lead her back to the stable. A vet examined the horse and found only minor skin wounds. Vance said police have not received a complaint against Modisette in the past.
The woman who gave the Modisettes the horse admits it was a bad mistake but she insists the couple loves the horse. She questioned why people didn't stop to help Modisette instead of snapping pictures.
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