CAMPOBELLO, SC (FOX Carolina News) - A community blindsided, wondering when the next attack will be.
"When I come out and it's dark now, I'm taking extra precautions. I mean you don't think about a lot of things like that," said horse owner Craig Howell.
Three vile stabbings in two weeks, and law enforcement says the lack of evidence is making the job of solving this case nearly impossible.
"I've been doing this 25 years, and this is the first time we've had a case, a situation like this," said Environmental Enforcement officer Jamie Nelson.
Nelson says anything is on the table, but this third attack raises more red flags.
"Everything is on the books. Right now, we don't know who. Or what. So that's why we've got to do our job," Nelson said.
Howell adds that after finding his horse Sarah--the first victim--he knew right away something wasn't normal.
"I reached out to the department of natural resources when i seen what had happened to the horse. Because i knew it wasn't animal related," he explained.
Turns out--a local vet agrees.
A veterinarian who worked one of the stabbings told FOX Carolina they "can't see any scenario where a natural hazard caused these kinds of injuries."
The deep slashing wounds are not consistent with self-harm. They say if the horse had hurt itself, there would be more dirt, hair missing, or bruises.
These wounds were isolated.
The most common animals that attack horses are dogs and coyotes.
They say those wounds are messier with more tearing. The wounds this vet saw were clean, concise slashes and punctures--executed with precision--deep enough to cause fatal damage, but not kill the horse right away.
They also told us the effects of these attacks are being felt as far up as Henderson and Polk counties, where owners fear this senseless violence could bleed across state lines.