The brutal torture death of a beloved Shetland pony in Idaho has ignited outrage among animal advocates, who are offering a $30,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction in the case, Reuters reported.

Patches, a small, aging Shetland pony who called Rupert, Idaho, home, was often tethered to a tree in the front yard of owner Daniela Lopez’s home so that neighborhood kids could pet him.

But Lopez’s three young kids, and her soon-to-be-born fourth child, won’t be able to pet the pony any longer after Patches was beaten, stabbed and mutilated by someone on Sept. 5. Patches was euthanized the following day. Police are still looking for the perpetrators.

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen a more vicious attack on an animal,” Idaho Humane Society state director Lisa Kauffman said in a press release. “To be beaten, tortured, mutilated and then left to die in immense pain is the work of an individual you want behind bars. You do not want this person living next to you or in your community. This crime deserves a first offense felony conviction, but since animal cruelty in Idaho is a misdemeanor unless it’s the person’s third offense, this person, when caught, may not get the punishment they deserve.”

A gofundme account started by Lopez to raise money for a reward had locked in $17,755 from 420 donors toward a $20,000 goal as of Sunday morning. The Idaho Humane Society has offered $10,000 more.

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen a more vicious attack on an animal”

— Lisa Kauffman, Idaho Humane Society state director

Patches was euthanized after someone cut the rope tethering the pony to his tree, attached him to a vehicle and dragged him for more than a mile on asphalt roads and down a gravel bank, according to Lopez’s gofundme page. The Humane Society release said the perpetrator cut off the pony’s genitals and stabbed him “in numerous areas with a sharp object.” He was left to die and could barely stand by the time he was found in the morning.

The details of Patches’ torture have stunned the residents of the small Idaho town. State Representative Ken Andrus, a rancher and a Republican who chairs the Idaho House Agricultural Affairs Committee, is trying to gain support for a measure that would make it a felony to torture animals not considered traditional livestock.

“I think this incident with the pony will bring a lot of leverage,” he told Reuters. “What happened to Patches is a prime example of why we need it.”

The Shetland pony breed is known for its heavy coat and short legs. They are most frequently seen at petting zoos or giving rides to small children.

Click to read the story in the Grand Forks Herald.