A Herndon teen has been charged after he allegedly used a 22-inch machete to slash animals — including horses and a calf — in two separate attacks at a popular Fairfax County park, police said.
The 17-year-old, whose name was not released because he is a juvenile, was arrested Saturday after police received a tip from the general public on Friday that led to the suspect, Fairfax County police said.
The bizarre attacks, which occurred in April and May in Frying Pan Farm Park in Herndon, left three horses seriously wounded, as well as a goat, a kid, a calf, and a chicken with gashes. The slashings generated an outpouring of concern from the public and significant media attention.
Police declined to discuss what motivated the teen, provide more details about him or reveal the nature of the tip they received, but did credit the tipster with helping crack the case.
“That’s the kind of help our officers need,” said Lucy Caldwell, a Fairfax County police spokeswoman. “It was a difficult case.”
The teen has been charged with four felony counts of maiming animals, three misdemeanor counts of cruelty to animals and two counts of unlawful entry. He was was expected to appear in family court in Fairfax County Monday.
The first attack occurred at the Spirit Open Equestrian Program on the night of April 25 or the morning of April 26. The suspect slashed three horses — Spirit, Tessa and Lucinda — that were in a paddock for the night, police said.
The wounds on the horses’ flanks and hindquarters required stitches to close. A significant amount of blood was found at the scene after the attack. The program teaches children with disabilities how to ride horses.
Davorka Suvak, the program director, said Monday all of the horses were making full recoveries. She was grateful an arrest had been made in the case.
“We were worried about the possible consequences of the horses being able to serve special needs students after the attacks, but everything is OK,” Suvak said. “The arrest is the last piece in the picture. It gives us a sense of peace.”
The other attack occurred the night of May 26 or the morning of May 27 at the Kidwell Barn in Frying Pan Park. Henry, a calf, was left with three slashes on his head. A mother goat named Scandal was cut, as was her unnamed baby goat. A chicken was also slashed.
Program officials could not be reached immediately for comment.
Staff writer Maggie Fazeli Fard contributed to this report.