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Why are thieves stealing the tail hair from Wyandotte County horses?

Kristen Conroy of Statesville, N.C., brushed out a switch, or a fake horse tail, in the barn at the Hunt Horse Complex several years ago. Local horse owners who have had their horses’ tails cut off and stolen by thieves worry the hair may being used to make hair extension for show horses.
Kristen Conroy of Statesville, N.C., brushed out a switch, or a fake horse tail, in the barn at the Hunt Horse Complex several years ago. Local horse owners who have had their horses’ tails cut off and stolen by thieves worry the hair may being used to make hair extension for show horses. Robert Willett

As reports of thieves stealing horse hair in Wyandotte County continue, dismayed horse owners are striving to better protect their animals from those who cut and make off with tail hair, according to local reports.

Fox 4 KC reported last week that at least six incidents of horse tail hair theft — in which thieves sneak into stables and farms at night and leave with horses’ tails — have been reported to law enforcement in Wyandotte County.

But the problem is hardly limited to Kansas City. Reports of stolen horse tail hair have circulated across the Midwest for years. Law enforcement suspects thieves sell the product to be used for hair extensions for both humans and show horses.

More than 100 incidents of stolen horse tails were reported in several counties in Wyoming four years ago, according to the Toronto Star. Just this month, reports of stolen horse tail hair were made in Lancaster and Dodge counties in Nebraska.

One pound of horse hair can range from $50 to $295, depending on the length and the color. Horse tail can also be found in jewelry, belts, hat bands and violin bows.

Horses use their tails to protect them against cold and bugs.

Those who may have information about the thefts in Kansas are encouraged to call the Kansas City Crimestoppers tipline at 816-474-TIPS (8477).

Katy Bergen: 816-234-4120, @KatyBergen

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