After Family's Horse Shot, Man Charged with 'Cruelty to Livestock Animals'

Ralph Crawford said the horse was on his property, according to police

LUBBOCK, TX - A family grieved after their horse “Lightning” was shot and killed Monday night at E. 47th Street and Vanda Avenue. Ralph Crawford was arrested and charged with “Cruelty to Livestock Animals” and “Disorderly Conduct.” 

According to Police, a witness saw the white horse running on the street near Crawford’s property, then crossing to an empty field. That witness went to go put his dog away, when he heard gunshots. 

"He ran towards me, and then he collapsed right here in front of our house,” Witness James Anthony Murillo said. “He tried...he tried to fight for his life. He was trying to kick and everything, and then he finally gave in.”

According to the police report, Crawford believed the horse was on his property and trying to damage it, and claimed he only shot the horse once from across the road. Officers found four gunshot wounds on the horse. One was near the neck, two were in the middle of the body, and the other was in the rear. 

“The horse didn't deserve it, it wasn't.. it's not going to bite anybody. It's just trying to find his home,” Murillo said. “It got me real frustrated. I was yelling at the neighbor because he has no right to do that to an animal, not to put it down like that." 

EverythingLubbock.com spoke to the owners, who said their horse was part of the family, and it belonged to the two young brothers in the family. Marco Espinoza said they understand it’s their fault the horse got out, but was confused why it was handled this way, adding they 'would have rather paid a fine than found our horse dead.” 

Neighbors say this isn't the first time animals have been targeted in the neighborhood. 

“Yeah my dog got out...or my niece's dog got out...and went down there,” Neighbor Daniel Green said. “He was shooting the dogs as they walked down the road toward the house.” Green said his family dog was killed. 

Catheline Bancroft said she worries about her dog’s safety sometimes. 

“He loves to go outside and meet people, he loves to run around and meet kids, but whenever we see that man I know I have to put Dante away,” Bancroft said. 

Green and Bancroft said they had seen the white horse get out multiple times. 

“It wasn’t that much of a problem,” she said. “Never caused a ruckus, never destroyed property.” 

Lightning’s owners added, they are  concerned that someone else could have gotten caught in the crossfire or hurt. Neighbors agreed.

 "There are kids around here. There are other animals. He could have hurt somebody more than it already was,” Murillo said. “It's cruelty to animals, the animal couldn't defend himself.”

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