BYHALIA, Miss. — A Marshall County, Mississippi woman is mourning the loss of her beloved horse, who was found Tuesday morning with a bullet wound after getting out of her pasture. 

Police are trying to figure out who is responsible for shooting Spirit the horse.

“Spirit has been just like her name — she carries something within her. She’s the horse that everyone in the neighborhood knows and loves,” said Mary Jane Schifani. “It’s killing me that there is some other person that could do such harm to her.:

Schifani says Spirit and her other two horses had escaped their pasture, something she says is not uncommon in the rural neighborhood. Schifani says at least 60 percent of her neighbors are horse owners. 

She found the horses about a quarter-mile down the road. 

“Two of them were very amped up and running around and blowing and snorting, like they were on a bit of an adrenaline rush. My third horse, the older one, Spirit, was kind of down in a valley just sort of standing there with her head hanging low and not moving,” Schifani said.

After a trip to the vet and attempted treatment for a common horse sickness called colic, they discovered the bullet wound. 

Spirit died that night from internal bleeding. She was 18, and Schifani had her for seven years.

“I feel like somebody down the road from me didn’t want them on their property and they just took a shot and them, when there were other options available to them,” Schifani said.

In Mississippi, it is a felony to shoot a horse.

Marshall County Sheriff’s deputies are still looking for the person responsible. Schifani wants that person to know they took more than just a life, but a source of happiness in the neighborhood.

“They got rid of their problem on their property, or whatever, but they affected my family, my grandchildren, my neighbors, and everyone else who has ever known and loved that horse,” she said.

Anyone with information is asked to call 652-252-1311. You can remain anonymous. 

The sheriff’s office is offering what they are calling a  substantial reward for information that leads to an arrest.