A 31-year-old Delaware man has been charged with sexually assaulting ponies at an equestrian park near Wilmington, New Castle County police said Thursday.
Michael Riego of Hartly, Kent County, was arrested early Thursday and charged with two counts of felony bestiality and two counts of felony burglary, police said. He was arraigned and held with secured bail set at $12,000.
Police in February began investigating reports of injuries to ponies at the New Castle County Carousel Park and Equestrian Center caused by cords tied around their legs just above their hooves. The first reported injury occurred last September.
A suspect in the assaults was recorded on video but could not be identified. Police said they began conducting nightly surveillance and about 12:30 a.m. Thursday detectives saw Riego approach and look into a pony’s stall, then enter the stall and tie the pony’s rear legs. Riego was then taken into custody.
The investigation is ongoing, police said.
“All of the ponies were treated by an equine veterinarian and have resumed normal daily activities,” police said.