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UPDATE: Rabbits Found Dead at County Fair Were Killed, Preble Sheriff Says
EATON-- A five-hundred dollar reward is being offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of a suspect wanted for killing 9 rabbits at the Preble County Fair.
The suspect has not been identified.
The animals were part of a 4-H exhibit and had been raised by kids ages 8-18. They were found dead in their pens late Thursday night.
"It was kind of a shock to everybody that it happened with that amount of people around," said Fairgrounds Manager James Mays, who is keeping the Fair operations running despite the crime.
"We're probably guessing it's a prank you know," Mays said, "The Sheriff's Department has it under investigation and we're just kind of waiting for them to tell us what they found."
Investigators have not released how the rabbits were killed, but did increase patrols at the fair Thursday night into Friday morning to watch the animals that remained on the grounds. All rabbits were released after the killings. Others were sold during the fair Friday and as of Friday night there were very few animals left in the barns.
Still, crowds packed the fair midway and donated to catching the killer.
"I'm not surprised," Mays added, "Because the way that the Sheriff's Department and the advisory senior fair board handled it last night, and everyone just coming together quickly, got the scene under control and money just kind of started coming in."
"I think everybody's sorry for the kids that happened to," said Joe Tobias, who runs electricity services at the fairgrounds. He wasn't surprised that the Preble community banded together to raise a reward so quickly.
"They're all tight fit," he said, "Real farmers and stuff, and they hang together and all help each other out. They probably have no idea what they were doing to these kids who raise these animals, and I think they should apologize if they catch them, they should make them publicly apologize."
Anyone with information that leads to the arrest and conviction of a suspect is eligible for the $500 reward.
If you have information call the Preble County Sheriff's Office at 937-456-6262.
EATON -- The Preble County Sheriff's Office is investigating after nine rabbits were found dead Thursday at the Preble County Fair.
Preble County Sheriff Mike Simson said 4-H advisers reported the rabbit deaths. The animals were found dead Thursday in their pens.
All are reported to have been killed, Simpson said. He said the deaths are believed to have happened over a period of several hours throughout the day.
"The investigation is continuing today and anyone who may have information is asked to contact the Sheriff's Office at 456-6262," Simpson said.
The sheriff said rabbits were the only animals harmed at the fair.
"There were rumors and speculation that other animals on the grounds had been involved. This was quickly determined not to be true," Simpson said. "4-H clubs on the fairgrounds watched over animals last night and extra deputies were provided for additional security to assist in making sure no additional problems occurred."
Preble Sheriff Investigating After 9 Rabbits Die at County Fair
PREBLE COUNTY -- An investigation is underway at the Preble County Fair after some rabbits were found dead Thursday.
We spoke with Sheriff Mike Simpson just before midnight, and he told us that during a 14-hour period Thursday, nine rabbits either died or were killed. No other animals were affected. The Sheriff's Office has launched an investigation, and there was extra security at the fairgrounds overnight.
Deputies have been riding around the fairgrounds looking for any suspicious activity. But even with the added security some people are not taking any chances with their animals.
ABC 22/FOX 45 Reporter Amber Watson spoke to one volunteer. She tells us she hasn't slept in more than 24 hours keeping an eye on her horse after hearing of the rabbit deaths.
The rabbits not included in the livestock sale this morning were allowed to go home.
The fairgrounds manager said no other animals were harmed. However, a volunteer said someone tainted the water on the fairgrounds.
"I was actually out riding my horse and we noticed someone put bleach in the water buckets as well. We caught it before anything happened," Siera Burke said.
The manager here at the fairgrounds said the water does smell more chlorinated because of a recent water main break. However, he says the water is safe to drink. The investigation is ongoing to see what happened to those rabbits.
The fair ends on Saturday. Until then, expect to see more deputies looking for anything suspicious.
Simpson is asking anyone with information on what may have happened to the rabbits to call the dispatch center at 937-456-6262.
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