BUTLER COUNTY (KDKA) - The search continues for an award-winning horse that was stolen from a property in Penn Township.
Brian Gratzer's horses are a huge part of his life. On Friday morning, he noticed his 14-year-old Haflinger mare named Val was nowhere in sight on his property in the Renfrew area of Penn Township. He thinks she was stolen between last Thursday night and Friday morning.
Gratzer said the mare had been caring for her 2-month-old filly and would have not left her filly.
"She wouldn't leave that colt, there is no way. Any horseman you ever talk to knows when a mare is nursing a colt, she'll kill, or she'll die beside that colt before she leaves. They are the most possessive animal I've ever seen with babies," said Gratzer.
Val was named "Grand Champion Mare" at the Big Butler Fair last month.
"It's hard because I've had that mare about three years. I do a lot of buying, selling, trading. I've had people looking at these mares at the fair, this mare here she rode, she drives," he said. "Real friendly, real easy going."
Brian and his wife, Connie, are worried about the mare's health because she could get mastitis if she continues to produce milk. He said this can be life-threatening if not taken care of.
They searched 10 to 11 acres to see if the mare was lost or died somewhere. They continue to check auctions and sales as well.
Penn Township police are asking the public for information. Gratzer said officers have been helping with the search.
Meanwhile, another mare is taking care of her filly.
"She's still a little forlorn. She's not as lively as she was, but we're lucky we had another mare that took over. Usually, they don't adopt them out like that, and this mare took her over and let her nurse off of her, so we've made a lot of progress that way," Gratzer said.
Because of the theft, they plan on adding cameras to their property. Gratzer believes whoever took Val has some experience with handling horses.
They are not giving up on their search, no matter what the outcome may be.
"I hope she turns up, at least get a resolution on it. If somebody buys it at the sales, fine, let me know. I'll buy her back off you, I don't care, I just want the horse back," Gratzer said.
The Gratzer family just wants their beloved horse to come home.
"If somebody took her, and they still got her, drop her off and let her run the pasture. She'll come find her way home," he said.
Anyone with information on this horse's disappearance is asked to call the Penn Township Police Department at 724-586-1169.
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