Shetland abuse crime still unsolved

RUPERT - Some local residents are losing hope that Patches’ abusers will be caught.A month has passed since the pet pony was tortured in the night and left standing — barely alive — on a canal bank outside Rupert.The aging Shetland, who belonged to Daniela and Hugo Lopez and their three young boys, had to be euthanized.No arrests have been made in the theft and torture of the pony, who had been dragged nearly a mile and a half down the road to a spot known locally as “Tuma’s Pond.”Public outcry was loud and widespread. Minidoka County Sheriff Eric Snarr received countless calls from all over the country from folks expressing outrage and concern.Other calls yielded leads that the Sheriff’s Office is investigating. But as time goes by, some appear to have given up hope.Marlyce Tuma, who lives near the Lopez family’s home, said she had talked to one of the other neighbors Monday morning.“He said he really thought someone would have come forward when the reward got large,” Tuma said. “He thinks it’s a lost cause now.”But Tuma is not giving up.“I’m still putting up posters and handing out fliers,” she said. “Somebody has to know something.”Lisa Kauffman, state director of the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), said Tuma’s instincts are correct.Fear could be silencing someone with information, Kaufmann said.“You’d be surprised,” she said. “For example, in one case a mother knew her son had committed a crime, but she wouldn’t turn him in for fear of repercussion from her son’s father.”The HSUS pledged $10,000 for information leading to the conviction of the abusers. That reward money will be available whenever there is a conviction, as will the $5,000 pledged by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. A GoFundMe account reached more than $27,000 by the time Daniela Lopez announced she was closing the account.After six months, a case typically goes cold, said Kaufmann, who has been advising the Lopez family. If the crime goes unsolved, the family could donate the money in the GoFundMe account to CrimeStoppers for future animal-cruelty cases.“People should know that they can remain completely anonymous,” Tuma said. “Any little tip, even if it seem minute, could help solve the case.”