BY KEN LITTLE
Charlie was "a big gentle giant" who loved the company of people, especially children.
No one can understand what motivated someone to inflict a fatal injury on the horse early Saturday as it stood in a fenced-in yard at 230 Preacher Laws Road, in Horse Creek.
The animal may have been shot with a firearm or an arrow, owner Heidi Storiale said Tuesday.
Whatever the case, its leg injury was so severe, the horse had to be put down.
Storiale wants some answers.
'WHO DID THIS?'
"I would like to find out who did this at this point so justice could be served. He was a horse standing in his yard. He wasn't doing anything to anybody," Storiale said.
Charlie, a big gelding Palomino, was a rescue horse who came to Storiale and her family from a woman in Bluff City the day before Easter. She estimates he was between 25 and 30 years old and "very malnourished."
Everyone immediately fell in love with Charlie, especially Storiale's 6-year-old daughter, Shilei, and 9-year-old daughter, Dominique.
"He thought he was a big puppy dog," Storiale said. "He would literally sit down like a big puppy dog with his tongue out. He was a good old guy."
FOUND IN MORNING
Charlie was found in the fenced-in front yard of the house about 8 a.m. Saturday by a person who came over to put out hay for Storiale's four horses.
"He was laying there. You could clearly see he was shot in the back leg. It broke his bone in two. It was an awful thing to wake up to," she said.
"Nobody heard anything. None of the neighbors heard anything. I don't know if it was shot with a gun or shot with a crossbow or anything."
Storiale said she went to bed about 3 a.m. Saturday, so there is about a five-hour window of time when the horse could have been injured.
The Greene County Sheriff's Department was called. Deputy Stacey Lawing responded to the address.
FOUND IN FIELD
"(The) victim found her horse laying in field with broken leg," the report said. "Victim thinks horse could have possibly been shot. No one heard gunshots anywhere, and injury was too muddy to tell anything."
Storiale said there is no doubt in her mind that someone intentionally injured the horse.
A veterinarian who was contacted Saturday morning was unable to immediately come to the scene.
After Storiale's family said their goodbyes, a neighbor put the horse down. Charlie was buried the same day across the street.
"No words can explain this horrific experience and the pain we're enduring," she said.
The family's happy memories of the horse and the joy it brought to them are tainted by the horrific sight of the suffering animal.
Images of Charlie lying helpless on the ground, being comforted by her daughters, keep playing thorough Storiale's mind.
"I would like to know who did this, how they did this, and why they did this," she said. "There is no reason for it."
Anyone with information can contact the Greene County Sheriff's Department at (423) 798-1800.