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Stolen horses back in barn

By AMANDA PALLESCHI
Published May 25, 2007


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Every morning, Patrick Bishop followed the same routine.

He'd leave his Riverview home at 5 a.m. and arrive at the family's farm on S 54th Street about fifteen minutes later.

He would clean the four horse stalls and put the horses out to pasture for the day.

But on May 15, a thief disrupted the routine: Two horses that belonged to his 15-year-old daughter, Jenna, were missing.

"I knew somebody had been there, " Bishop said. "The tack room door was open, and I close it up every night."

Thanks largely to media attention, Bishop said, the horses are back in his barn in Palm River.

An anonymous caller last week told sheriff's deputies that they spotted Chester, an 8-year-old quarter horse, and Cowboy, a 10-year-old buckskin, in Pasco County.

The horses were returned to the Bishop family, though Chester had a three-inch gash in his left hindquarter, Bishop said.

He's being extra careful now, adding extra lighting to the barn and hiring someone to stay there at night.

But the theft of his horses, which both Hillsborough and Pasco County deputies call unusual, has caused many of Bishop's friends who own horses to worry, he said.

"All the horse owners I know are starting to tighten up a little bit, " he said.

When he thinks about why someone would steal his horses, illegal racing is one of the things that comes to mind.

"I think this is a network of people. Once these horses get in that network, they probably won't ever resurface, and we're very lucky there was an individual who spotted ours, " Bishop said.

While he considers himself lucky, no arrests have been made in connection with Chester and Cowboy's disappearance last week.

Amanda Palleschi can be reached at apalleschi@sptimes.com or at 813 661-2456.

[Last modified May 24, 2007, 07:43:28]


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