The Zanesville Times Recorder reported Tuesday that fire marshals in McConnelsville, Ohio believe the fire that destroyed openly gay Brent Whitehouse’s barn, killing all eight of his beloved horses Easter night, was arson. One horse was merely a week old and another was about to give birth. The inferno was so hot it melted a tractor.
Investigators found antigay graffiti spray-painted on the gutted barn and are investigating whether the fire might be a hate crime.
The Times Recorder reported:
“The barn I can rebuild, but the bond I had with those horses can’t be replaced,” said Whitehouse. “Whoever did this had to walk right by all those horses, including the baby, and didn’t care that they were killing a gentle, loving animal.” …..
“They [the graffiti] were hateful,” Whitehouse said of the sayings. “I think the investigators are looking at this like a hate crime.”
Whitehouse, a horse trainer and breeder, and owner of an insurance company in McConnelsville, said he is still in shock over losing Elvis, Barney, Floyd, Princess and her week-old foal, Buddy, Love, Bella and Ethel. The value of the horses was hundreds of thousands of dollars.
“Each one of them was so special,” Whitehouse said. “I’d come home from a long day at the office and go to the barn and be with them for hours. They just knew how to relax me and make me laugh.”…..
Whitehouse said he has gotten so much support from neighbors and friends in Morgan County and is grateful.
“I just don’t understand someone wanting to kill innocent animals,” Whitehouse said. “It’s like killing a child. Those horses never did anything to hurt anyone.”
On Wednesday, the paper reported that a reward of $5,000 has been offered for information leading to an arrest in the arson.