Eight Horses Dead After Alleged Anti-Gay Arsonist Burns Ohio Barn


A barn in Morgan County, Ohio was targeted by an arsonist on Sunday. After someone spray painted "fags are freaks" on the side of a fence surrounding a barn, the barn was torched, killing the eight horses inside of it.

WHIZ News reports: Whitehouse

Seven adult horses and one foal died as a result of an arson fire at 874 West Richards Road in McConnelsville just after 11:30 p.m. on Sunday. Owner Brent Whitehouse said he woke to discover the barn engulfed in flames and immediately called 911, but it was too late.

"I couldn't get the door open I could still hear the horses kicking and I tried as hard as I could to get them out and I just couldn't get them out in time," he said.

Those who know Brent believe this was a hate crime, explicit words relating to his sexuality were spray painted in large white letters on the side of the barn before the fire was started.

"They obviously don't know him very well, because he's a sweet-hearted person and how he lives his lifestyle is nobody's business but his own," said Friend Bobbie Nelson.

Watch video here.

(image below via Zanesville Times Recorder)



  1. Zlick says

    I guess those gay horses got what they deserved, huh? This is beyond sickening. Also sickening is the likely common reaction, which I also am having to the deaths of defenseless animals, that it is somehow more horrific on a gut level than the murder of an actual LGBT human.

    Of course, it’s not. But the emotional reaction to the killing of animals who could not possibly have caused the imagined offense is heart-rending. But I suppose whatever gets the good people of Ohio up-in-arms about hate crimes is a good thing.

  2. Rob says

    Only a truly sick person would demonstrate their hate against a gay man by burning alive his innocent animals. There’s no place in Hell big enough to hold such a f**kwad.

  3. Francis says

    Too bad the horses didn’t trample the attacker. Things like this show you just how twisted an irrationally hateful mind really is. Committing horrible, unspeakable acts of terror, solely because someone is gay. What makes it even sadder is that the evil monster is not caught, while the victims have to pick up the pieces and deal with the trauma that comes with situations happening to you like this. So sad.

  4. Tim says

    Sickening is an understatement.

    When I read this post and the one below it about the cabbie dumping a gay couple for a peck on the cheek, it makes me think twice about “It gets better.”

  5. Francis says

    Well, this is small town Ohio. So, although their alternative lifestyle comment was eye raising, they were being supportive in the way they know how, so I can’t be too critical. Anyway, I agree with Tre.

  6. Sara says

    I agree, please let everyone know if a fund is set up to help. Though I’ve recently lost my job, I’ll do what I can to contribute. I’m a horse owner/lover also and this breaks my heart. Mr. Whitehouse’s grief must be overwhelming.

  7. nelson2 says

    I will reserve judgement until the facts are known. We have been “burned” too many times in the past with these stories that turned out to be false.

  8. Russell says

    As the other comments understand, nothing hurts a horse person like not being able to help your horses trapped in a barn fire. The criminal investigation will be of great interest. In addition to felony arson and the “alleged” hate crime aspect under state law, isn’t there a federal terrorism crime for torching someone’s property to intimidate them or induce them to move?

  9. NaughtyLola says

    @Crispy, that’s what you took away from this? Not that this man has a good friend who is supportive and kind?

    Be very very careful about making the good the enemy of the perfect; you’ll wind up with nothing.

  10. jj says

    you also have to remember that gay men/women from more sheltered environments might not have a more progressive view/understanding of their own sexuality and may refer to their sexuality as a “lifestyle” as well. just a thought.

  11. jamal49 says

    Forget the hate-crime aspect under Ohio law. Gov. Kasich, a rabid evangelical, will not use any state resources to prosecute under such statutes. This will probably be ignored, knowing small-town Ohio as I do. They’ll plead “budget crisis” and will state that “only serious crimes can be investigated”. Ohio has become a very, very hateful place for LGBT people. I am glad I no longer live there. Anyplace that considers the humanity of any LGBT person as an “alternative lifestyle” (the right-wing controls this debate, folks) will never take our lives and the threat to our lives by religious bigots seriously. My heart breaks for those horses. What a terrible, horrible way to die. This news item has cinched it for me: vigilantism is the only solution to keep the bigots off our backs. What they give out needs to be given back. Find that coward and douse him with kerosene, light a match, toss it on him and then walk away.

  12. Mike says

    This is sick and federal laws should cover the hate crime aspect, I believe. I have lived in Ohio most of my life and now live in gay-friendly Columbus so those who bash Ohio and think that this could not happen anywhere else – open your eyes and read the news! I have never had an ounce of trouble from anyone here but honestly can not say that about Chicago, DC, Sydney etc. while visiting. Hate has no border.

  13. Jerry says

    This spook me to no end. We live in a semi rural area of Pennsylvania and have not been the quiet good boy. They are out there. I truly hope this gets resolved. The Pain on every level in this incidence, make my Eyes water . Sad, sad, sad

  14. ThomD says

    As a horseman, I feel so deeply for this man and the pain at the loss of his horses. We all fear the consequences of a fire and do what we can to minimize the possibility. As an arson, I pray that the slime bag who started this fire is punished thoroughly.

    As a gay man, I am saddened that we still need to deal with those who cannot accept us for who we are. And small town is no excuse. I grew up in Sharon Springs, where the Beekman Boys live now, and can tell you that the entire area is very supportive of the many gay men and women who live there. Long before Josh and Brent moved in, John, Garth, Doug and others were accepted welcomed.

  15. Reg says

    Christian love in action. You can be sure that the Christians who incessantly rant about a minor scuffle b/t Prop 8 protestors 3 years ago, and who fulminate against a gay lesson taught by a single teacher in MA 5 years ago will have nothing to say about this.

    I think I am pretty good at sniffing out the fakes. I immediately called fraud on the recent false claim by a gay student that he was burned by an anti-gay attacker. But this has few indicia of a fake and many of the indicia of an authentic hate crime. By all means, wait for more facts, but I think this will turn out to be exactly what it appears to be.

  16. dards says

    The question is not if this was a hate crime as much as it a crime perpetuated by psychos. Anyone who would burn innocent animals needs to be strung up by their nuts in the tree beside the barn in the photo.

  17. Nikki says

    I grew up in this area and I can assure everyone that this story is not a fraud. It is the epitomy of “small-town America” and unfortunately most of the people there are ignorant and small-minded. However, only a complete psychopath would take it to this level. Although small-town Ohio has a long way to go, most of the people here are very sweet albeit very secluded and sheltered.

  18. says

    Mike, you are absolutely correct. This is the point I’ve tried to make: Ohio is two states (and in many ways similar to America as a whole): the liberal areas like the Columbus and Cleveland metro regions – along with college towns like Athens, and the rural areas and southern Ohio, which are a different world altogether.

    Ultimately, I don’t expect the state to do anything. But if this is categorized as a hate crime, the Feds will be called in and that’s what I hope happens.

    How sad that animals have to suffer because of the human disease of homophobia.

  19. says

    This is 30 minutes from us, I actually know this guy, we’ve shown horses together. This part of Ohio is about as red-neck as you can get. I’ve lived here my entire life and I can honestly say that its better than its ever been, but saying that, and seeing this horrible thing, its obvious that we have a long way to go.

  20. Tell It Like It Is says

    This is the sickest, cruelist thing I have read in a long time.

    If I had the persons in front of me tied up right now they’d be begging for mercy cause I would dole out the sane thing and let them experience the terror those poor creatures went through.

    Then I’d let them live at the very end so they can deal with the day to day agony this man will go through everyday for the rest of his life.

  21. Clint says

    Here is a story from the local newspaper in Zanesville, Ohio: http://www.zanesvilletimesrecorder.com/article/20110426/NEWS01/110426009/Reward-offered-information-regarding-barn-fire-killed-horses?odyssey=tab|topnews|text|Frontpage

    I grew up in the part of Ohio, and I happily left for college and didn’t return. I am encouraged, however, by some of the comments on the article comments. Indeed, the victim’s sexuality is no one’s business but his own.

  22. phineas says

    If true, this would indeed be a heinous crime. The only red flags that could possibly trigger doubt is the targeting of the barn instead of the house, if the horses were insured, or if there was any other possible financial motivation involved. Unfortunately, these kinds of questions need to be asked to determine any claim of hate crime.

  23. Francis says

    Behavior like this is psychopathic. People who commit hate crimes for the overwhelming most part are mentally ill, socially dysfunctional and personality disordered. People like this, are those who seek out gay people on the streets or at clubs to attack, have severe mental and personal issues that lead them to basically think that gay people deserve to be punished for our sexuality, even though our sexuality as no affect on their lives whatsoever. The paranoia one must have to do things like this must be unbelievable. There is a reason homophobia is considered a personality disorder. It’s literally is sick, morally and mentally. So sad to see innocent people getting hurt because at the hands of these hateful freaks.

  24. DC says

    I desperately hope they catch the sub-human that did this, and feel that having them be drawn & quartered as a means of execution would be more than appropriate. Violence and cruelty to animals should be no less a crime than harm to humans. We are here to shepherd life on this rock, and those who see our lesser fellow spirits as nothing more than a resource or property make me sick.

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