Several horses stolen from Robertson County man battling brain cancer
“I want you to go to jail. You came in private property, you stole something that did not belong to you,” said Gary Fleming.
HEARNE, Texas (KBTX) -Horse thieves have struck again in Robertson County. In March five horses were stolen off the Welch family’s property in Franklin.
The thieves got away with over a dozen horses from a ranch in Hearne this time.
Making this situation even more heartbreaking is that the horse owner is undergoing treatment for brain cancer.
Gary Fleming says a considerable part of his existence was taken from him.
“I love being with horses, and dogs, I mean, I enjoy animals, so it means everything to be in their presence and be with them and it takes a lot of you when they are taken away from you and robbed from you,” said Flemming.
Fleming says the horses weren’t all stolen at once. He says the thefts happened sporadically over a six-month period as he would go in and out of the hospital for cancer treatment.
“I’ve had to have surgery. I had three brain tumors and am in the process of getting prepared to start trying to go through radiation and chemo. It’s a heavy load,” said Fleming.
Fleming says his horses are a source of peace.
“They’re everything because it’s so relaxing. I mean it’s a peace that you get just being with them that, I mean it’s almost unspeakable because I can just go among them and don’t have to do anything. Just being in their presence and, it satisfies me,” said Fleming.
Fleming’s daughter Shannah says she hates to see her father suffer.
“It’s just hurtful because he works hard. He works all the time to be able to do things like this, to buy things like this. So he’s very emotional about it because like I said, nothing’s being done,” said Shannah.
According to the nonprofit Stolen Horse International, an estimated 40,000 to 55,000 horses are stolen each year in the U.S. Debi Metcalfe founded the nonprofit after her horse was stolen in 1996. She says the crimes are becoming more frequent and hard to stop.
“Professional thieves are really good at not leaving signs of what happened,” said Metcalfe. “Sometimes they want to make it look like the horse got out so you spin your wheels while these horses are being sold several states away.”
In a KBTX.COM EXCLUSIVE Metcalfe offers advice for those that have horses or have had horses stolen in the video below.
If you have a missing horse you are encouraged to contact your local law enforcement and also Stolen Horses International. A report can be filed at www.NetPosse.com.
The Flemmings believe someone knows what going on and encourage them to speak out. They’re also calling on law enforcement to bring justice to those responsible.
“Justice is when you enforce it. When you talk about it, it’s not enforced when you enforce it, then there are repercussions for your actions,” said Flemmings.
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