Police manhunt for horse killers widens in France

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Suspected of killing and mutilating horses across France, two people escaped a manhunt launched after an owner near Dijon sounded the alarm, but their trail turned cold, said Monday authorities.Police launched a major search operation in eastern Côte-d’Or, involving 40 officers and a helicopter after a man spotted two people in his pasture on Saturday night, but the suspects escaped.

“The operation is over, now we are investigating our findings. For now, there is no clue, ”said a police spokesperson.

The murders involve the mutilation of the bodies of the animals, which are often found with an ear cut off and an eye gouged out. No meat is ever taken from the carcasses.

From the beginning of the year to the beginning of August, there had been a dozen cases across France, but in recent weeks, and despite intense media attention, the murders and mutilations have increased and the French media have reported more than 20 incidents.

Police released a facial composition of a suspect, a male, and advised horse owners to monitor their meadows daily, not to leave halters on horses in the field, and install cameras if possible. He also called on owners to report any suspicious behavior near horse pastures.

Later Monday, Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin and Agriculture Minister Julien Denormandie will visit a breeder in the Oise region north of Paris where horses have been attacked. They will meet with breeders and investigators and discuss plans to stop the attacks.

Police said they had no idea what was driving the crimes and that it could be a satanic rite, a macabre trophy hunt or an internet challenge.

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