Delaware man tied up and sexually assaulted multiple ponies over months, left them with horrific injuries: Police

Michael Riego, 31, allegedly molested and injured several ponies at Carousel Park and Equestrian Center in Wilmington


                            Delaware man tied up and sexually assaulted multiple ponies over months, left them with horrific injuries: Police
(New Castle County Police)

WILMINGTON, DELAWARE: A 31-year-old man was arrested on Thursday, May 21, after a “lengthy investigation” found out he has allegedly been tying up ponies before sexually assaulting and injuring them. Michael Riego allegedly molested several ponies at Carousel Park and Equestrian Center in Wilmington, Delaware.

According to a press release by New Castle County Police, the accused has been charged with felony bestiality and felony burglary. Additional charges might be file pending investigation. As per reports, the suspect was arrested when he was spotted loitering around a pony's stall at approximately 12:30 am on May 21. Investigators found him hiding in the corner and the pony's rear legs tied up. His arrest reportedly came after a month-long investigation after police officials received multiple complaints of injured ponies at Carousel Park. Staff members at the park had reportedly found the animals tied up with cords around their legs just above the hoof.

Besides, a video surveillance camera from an earlier incident showed "the same male suspect retrieving a feed bucket from the barn and entering the mare’s stall," police said. But they stated that Riego was not identified at that time because his face was covered.

“The suspect was observed tying up the rear legs of the mare, removing articles of clothing, and ultimately sexually assaulting the horse,” the statement from police read. The statement also mentioned that all the injured ponies have since been “treated by an equine veterinarian and resumed normal daily activities.”

According to reports, the first injury to a pony was reported in September 2019. Investigators said that in separate incidents, a 17-year-old black and white mare was found to be injured; a 20-year-old mare was discovered with its rear legs tied up; and a 31-year-old brown mare was found with injuries due to sexual assault.

Riego has been transported to New Castle County Police Headquarters where he faces two charges. But since the investigation is ongoing, he might face more charges in the future. The suspect was arraigned at Justice of the Peace Court 11 and held in lieu of $12,000 secured bail.

“Detectives are asking anyone with any information pertaining to this investigation or farmers that may know or have had hired Michael Riego to contact Det. Lucas at (302) 395-8110 or via email at [email protected] or by calling the New Castle County Division of Police non-emergency number at 302-573-2800 or via messenger on Facebook,” the news release from the police said.

In another related incident, an Oregon man raped his fiancée’s dog with such brutality that the animal had to be euthanized due to its internal injuries. According to reports, the incident happened in November 2018, when Fidel Lopez was frustrated that his fiancée had not yet come home and then assaulted the dog, Estrella. The man was sentenced to 60 days in jail for first-degree animal abuse and sexual assault of an animal.

After sentencing Lopez, the judge presiding over his case said, “If it could have been more, I gladly would have given you more time.” However, the only word from Lopez after the ruling was “Okay.”

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