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Family reeling after beloved horse is shot

Charlie Kohlmeyer's family made a gruesome discovery on Friday, the day after Thanksgiving. Informed by the Otter Tail County (Minn.) Sheriff's Department that one of their four horses had been seen acting strangely, Kohlmeyer's daughter, JoAnna,...

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Charlie Kohlmeyer's family made a gruesome discovery on Friday, the day after Thanksgiving.

Informed by the Otter Tail County (Minn.) Sheriff's Department that one of their four horses had been seen acting strangely, Kohlmeyer's daughter, JoAnna, went to check on them.

She found that Dan, a quarter horse who had been with the family for 14 years, had been blinded by a gunshot wound to the head.

JoAnna Kohlmeyer, a North Dakota State University student who was home for the holiday, coaxed the horse back home, where a veterinarian examined the animal and determined there was no help for him.

"We had to have him put down," said Charlie Kohlmeyer. "Absolutely the worst Thanksgiving I ever had."

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Kohlmeyer said they believe sometime Thursday evening someone fired a high-caliber gun at the horse's pasture alongside County Road 31 south of Pelican Lake.

He said the chances of it being an accident are slim, given there was no open season on large game that day.

Kohlmeyer said a veterinarian estimated the horse's age at about 30.

In his early days, Dan was a "cow pony" in Montana, adept at cutting cattle from the herd, said his owner.

When Kohlmeyer bought calves some years back, he said it appeared to spark memories for Dan.

"His ears perked up and he was 10 years younger," said Kohlmeyer, who is offering a $500 reward for information leading to the conviction of those who shot his horse.

The reward is being offered through the Otter Tail County Sheriff's Department, which can be reached by calling (218) 998-8555.

A spokeswoman for the department said no arrests have been made and there have been no similar reports.

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Kohlmeyer said he came forward with his story to warn other horse owners "there may be an idiot running around out there."

He said his other three horses are aware something is wrong, especially Cody, who was best pals with Dan.

"He's just in a major depression," Kohlmeyer said.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Dave Olson at (701) 241-5555

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I'm a reporter and a photographer and sometimes I create videos to go with my stories.

I graduated from Minnesota State University Moorhead and in my time with The Forum I have covered a number of beats, from cops and courts to business and education.

I've also written about UFOs, ghosts, dinosaur bones and the planet Pluto.

You may reach me by phone at 701-241-5555, or by email at dolson@forumcomm.com
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