ASHLAND, Va. -- A family in Ashland came home Wednesday night to find that their horse had been shot.
“Normally she’ll come running, nickering, excited to eat, have grain, excited to see me," said Ronald Gaudino.
Ronald and Kim Gaudino said their horse, Penny, has been part of their family for 20 years. Coming home to see the majestic creature in distress was heartbreaking.
“She was standing out here in the middle of the field and she wouldn’t move," said Gaundino. "I started looking her over and we noticed a bullet wound in the side of her.”
The Gaundino's said a vet was called out Wednesday night into the early hours of Thanksgiving Day morning, where the horse was treated for the wound.
“The bullet's up inside her on the other side of her rib cage, it punctured her lung," said Gaudino.
A video uploaded to Facebook shows the family using a metal detector to show where the bullet is.
Deputies believe the shooting occurred between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 8:36 p.m. on Wednesday, November 27.
As of Friday evening, Penny was alive and on antibiotics, according to the family.
By Sunday, family members said the animal was "still slow and unsteady on her feet, but hanging in there."
The good news is that Penny does not have a fever and seems "comfortable and cozy" in her stall, according to the family.
"Every day that passes is good," Kim Gaudino said.
The Gaudino's believe a hunter shot and left their horse for dead since the land around their property has been notorious for hunting, according to the Gaudino's. Now they are urging other hunters to be more responsible.
“It could of been a child, it could have been an adult [that was hit]," said Gaudino. "It could have been fired through a home and people just need to be cognizant and the responsibility that go with carrying a firearm and the damage that they cause."
An online fundraiser has been established to help the family with Penny's medical expenses. Click here if you would like to make a contribution to the GoFundMe account. As of Monday, $455 of the family's $1,300 goal had been raised.
“Investigators are asking for information that would help to identify persons in the area. Particularly, any possible hunters or persons that were practice shooting within proximity to the area,” said the Hanover Sheriff’s Office.
Anyone with information about the case is asked to contact the Hanover County Sheriff’s Office at 804-365-6140 or the Metro Richmond Crime Stoppers at 804-780-1000.