It wasn't a gun that killed a 14-year-old Straight Egyptian Arabian mare found dead in its owner's driveway Tuesday morning.
It was a manure rake handle.
An investigation by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources' Division of Wildlife found the horse's abdomen was punctured by the tool handle in some sort of freak accident.
Paul Kurfis, district law supervisor for the Division of Wildlife, said an officer went out to see the horse Tuesday night, but went out again Wednesday morning to take a closer look at the horse's wound.
"He returned with a wildlife investigator, and they began processing the scene. They actually had to roll the horse over," Kurfis said. "The direction of travel just didn't add up. It was coming from the ground up. The hole just didn't look like a bullet or a deer slug."
Kurfis also said no exit wound was found on the horse. That's when investigators found a blood-soaked handle of a manure rake lying near where the horse was found.
Kurfis said he is unsure how it happened, but the horse somehow came down on the handle.
"Somehow the horse managed to become punctured by the broom handle. Apparently it went in far enough that it probably severed an artery," he said.
Marian Beatty, the horse's owner, said she's still mourning the horse, and the new information is bittersweet.
"To let something so stupid to happen, I feel terribly guilty. But I feel relieved that someone wouldn't do something like shoot a horse and the hunters are cleared," Beatty said. "I'm happy the sheriff's department and ODNR stuck with it."