Horse loses mane and tail to Montco thief

A Montgomery County horse had a hair-raising experience over the weekend when it lost its mane and tail to an unauthorized groomer, police said.

A thief entered a Towamencin Township barn in the 2000 block of Mainline Road either Friday or Saturday and cut the hair from the horse, police said.

"Supposedly there is a market for it," said Chief Tim Dickinson of the Towamencin police. Horse hair can be used to make bracelets, among other things, he said.

According to the animal's owner, the hair is worth about $200, Dickinson said.

This isn't the first time a horse at the same location lost its hair. On Dec. 14, a similar incident occurred while the horse was outside in a fenced area.

"I understand there has been other cases in southeast Pennsylvania," said Dickinson. The police are also looking at similar cases in Bucks County and New Jersey, he said.

Last month, the manes and tails from three horses at a horse complex in Butler County, near Pittsburgh, were reportedly cut off.

The horse's tail is not just cosmetic. It is used to swat flys and other insects, and it usually takes years for the hair to grow back.

The Montco thief could face criminal mischief charges and possible cruelty to animals, Dickinson said.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Towamencin Township Police Department Criminal Investigations Unit at 215-368-7606.

- Mari A. Schaefer