On the night of Sunday, April 24, Brent Whitehouse of McConnelsville, Ohio awoke to find his barn engulfed in flames. Whitehouse dialed 911, but it was already too late. The blaze was out of control. Seven horses and one foal died in the fire, which Ohio’s state fire marshal is now calling a case of arson.
“I couldn’t get the door open, I could still hear the horses kicking, and I tried as hard as I could to get them out, [but] I just couldn’t get them out in time,” Whitehouse told WhizNews.com. “I just can’t believe somebody would do something like this, and do this to poor animals.”
What spurred this senseless, heart-breaking crime? The words “FAGS ARE FREAKS”, spray-painted on the side of the barn, suggests the horses died as victims of violent homophobia. Whitehouse, their owner, is gay.
The arson has stunned Whitehouse’s friends. “Whatever his sexual orientation was, it had nothing to do with him as a person,” said Yvette Yeadon, who had frequently worked with the animals. “And to take it out on these innocent horses was beyond any fathom of what anybody should ever do to anybody.”
Yeadon told WhizNews.com that the foal was only one week old, and one of the other horses was pregnant — she was expected to give birth later this week.
Investigators are still looking for the culprits and asking anyone with information about the fire or the anti-gay graffiti to come forward. Oddly, authorities are not calling this a hate crime.
Photo by Peter J. Markham, Loretto, MN