Miniature therapy horse stolen from animal rescue

SAN DIEGO -- The owner of a miniature horse stolen from a Tijuana River Valley animal sanctuary is pleading for his safe return.

"Smokey" was taken from his pen at Ferdinand's Familia Rescue Ranch during dark hours late last week.

“It’s pretty melancholy this week. We’re all hurting pretty bad,” owner Michael Pratt said. “I’m trying hard not to cry and I’ve been crying a lot."

Standing at about 26 inches tall, Smokey may not be very big -- but he has a big impact on the farm.

“We bought him as a therapy asset and his genetics are very special. It’s not like he’s really replaceable in any sort of way,” Pratt said.

Smokey is a therapy horse who brings joy and comfort to adults and children with special needs. He also helps veterans who suffer from PTSD.

“Pony therapy is a special bucket. The smaller the horse, the more approachable and if you get that horse in a special place, they can really help a lot of people. Several therapy ponies from the valley here go to hospitals and visit sick people and do a lot of good. He had the potential to be that kind of horse,” Pratt said.

Pratt is hoping Smokey still has that potential and is begging the thief, or thieves, to return him.

“Come on in, tie him up outside. Really, just bring him back. You don’t have to explain. If somebody wants to talk I’m here. We do compassion therapy, man. We’re really forgiving people,” Pratt said.

Smokey is black in color and has a red tint to his mane.

A report has been filed with the San Diego Police Department.