'Gruesome act of cruelty': Spokane County man kills horse, cuts off tail after ex won't take him back, deputies say

SPOKANE COUNTY, Wash. – A Spokane County man chopped the tail off his ex-girlfriend’s favorite horse and tied it to a fence Monday, killing it, sheriff’s deputies said.

Clint P. Burrill, 45, was arrested and charged with first-degree animal cruelty in the death of the horse, which he owned. He was also charged with misdemeanor harassment.

Burrill’s ex-girlfriend called said she ended their relationship because he’d been violent with her, and she thought he was becoming unstable. Finally, she said, he called her Sunday night and threatened to kill her favorite horse if she didn’t get back together with him.

Deputies went to his house Monday morning and found the driveway blocked by a junked car, a cone, and a gas can, so they walked up the driveway to the house.

Deputies found the dead horse, but no Burrill. As they were working to get a search warrant, Burrill drove up in a flatbed truck. Deputies said he took off when they saw him, but after a scuffle, he was arrested.

Deputies then got their search warrant, after which they said “a gruesome act of cruelty became apparent.”

The horse was laying on its side on a steep hill just outside a pen on the property. The rails of the pen were broken.

One of the horse’s front ankles was tied to the fence with a short rope, and another was cinched around its neck.

The horse’s tail was chopped off at the base, the ground around the horse was torn up from its struggle, and “a large amount of blood” had come out of its mouth and nose.

The ex-girlfriend reported that she then found a bag on her front porch that held a handkerchief tied around a lock of horse tail hairs.