back to article Bloke decapitates horse with chainsaw

A California man accused of decapitating his horse with a chainsaw to feed his extensive pack of mutts faces up to three years, eight months hard time if convicted on felony animal cruelty charges, the Press-Enterprise reports. Jack Ziniuk, 64, allegedly beat the equine, named Grizzle, with a sledgehammer before delivering the …


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  1. Calum n Shady
    Thumb Up

    Do Playmobil make a horse with a detachable head ? ?

    Pictures please ....

  2. fearnothing

    wait, what?

    "He added that he'd previously run a used to run a kennel"

    This makes my eyes hurt.

  3. Nate Amsden


    did it taste like chicken?

  4. Nigel Callaghan Silver badge
    IT Angle

    'Demjanjuk Manouevre'?

    or, as it's better known in the UK, 'doing a Biggsie'.

  5. Chris Malme

    "Demjanjuk Manoeuvre".

    Funny, I always understood it was the "Ernest Saunders Strategy". Saunders, it should be remembered is the only man ever known to have recovered from Alzheimer's.

  6. Simpson

    Cute story

    Didn't this guy know that you aren't allowed to kill "cute" animals?

    Sounds like he stunned the horse first... Isn't this basically how cows are butchered?

    Beyond the violation of the cuteness law, I don't see the harm.

    Unless he's not in a butcher's union. In that case, he's stealing someone's job.

    Hey Reg! Where's my "steak with a fork in it" icon?

  7. Anonymous Coward

    Is this really necessary?

    I have no problem with the odd amusing Paris Hilton anecdote or Bulgarian airbag-related story, but there really seems no need for this horrendous story on El Reg...

  8. Anonymous Coward

    STOP! - Hammer Time .......

    And now the moron's in court - sounds like he's been made an offer he can't refuse.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Gruesome as it might sound, assuming the first blow with the hammer knocked the horse out, this really isn't any different to a cow being stunned and having it's throat cut. A vet would report the cow was alive when it's throat was cut too...

    The chainsaw idea sounds a bit messy though... I'm sure there has been a bit of tabloid-licence here... Far easier and cleaner to just cut the throat with a nice sharp knife. Maybe the chainsaw was just brought in the cut the spine... A good sharp heavy meat cleaver does a far better job.

    Apologies to any veggis out there!

    Right, I'm off to "repackage" a deer so it fits in the freezer.

  10. Dr Christian
    IT Angle

    Non issue

    I'm a vegetarian and I don't find this gruesome at all. If this chaps forty dogs starved he'd be in court for that.

  11. gollux

    Standard procedure...

    Hammer, shotgun shell powered stunner or 22 bullet to the head to knock the animal unconcious and then slit its throat. Standard humane practice as done by the local licensed butchers.

    I wonder if there'd been less commotion if he'd used a hunting knife instead of a chainsaw for the last step.

    I had a friend have a horse go down with a gut torsion. He offed it with his .38 to end the pain. No one who knew him even thought twice about his actions. He was pretty cut up about it and couldn't afford the vet bill to have the exact same thing done.

    This fella's major sin is being poor with too many animals to support in the current economy. Our local SPCA ends up taking in these cases. The last one involved two horses, three goats, a flock of pigeons and five dogs. The people lost their jobs, got destitute and a neighbor turned them in.

  12. raving angry loony


    What he did was probably a hell of lot more humane that your typical slaughterhouse. His only crime was not being rich enough to pay off the politicians and "animal welfare" bureaucracy so that they turn the other way, as they do for the factory slaughterhouses. Fucking hypocrites.

  13. Bassey
    Thumb Up

    Reminds me....

    ....of a short sketch in the new Mitchell and Webb series. "Only the very worst cuts of horse-meat are used in our brand new recipe for...'Who gives a shit? it's only a cat'"

    Reduce, re-use, recycle!

  14. Paul 4

    Um... no...

    Genraly they use a teatherd bolt gun on cattle, and for the few times a knife is used (I.E. Halal) it is not just hacking the head off, they cut the blood vesals with one fast cut. A chainsaw is not the same. Think of the diffrence beween cutting your finger with a bread knife and a sharp kitchen knife (and then some as a chainsaw is very blunt, and butchers knifes much shar).

    Oh, and animal slaughter normaly requires a licence, for good reason. Its not an easy job to do well.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton


    Apparently he appeared in court breathing with the aid of an oxygen mask... surely this must have been cumbersome to use whilst decapitating the horse with the chainsaw? Anyway, apart from the strange choice of tools, I agree that the cuteness of horses is what shocks most people about this story. Other than that the real crimes this guy committed are probably to do with licensing and permits to carry out slaughtering on his own property.

    Paris? I'd slaughter her any time ;)

  16. Anonymous Coward

    after it was dead

    what was his reason for removing its head? if it was already dead why did he have to do it at all? couldnt he have just let the animals feed off its whole corpse?

  17. James Micallef Silver badge


    he wanted to make someone an offer they couldn't refuse

  18. Karim Bourouba

    He loves animals?

    Does this mean he used his favourite sledge hammer then?

  19. deshepherd

    @Cute story

    Yup, people have a very cute/non-cute distinction over what is edible. About 10 years ago I was in San Francisco zoo with a crowd watching a zoo person feeding the otters there. Someone asked her what they fed the otters on and she replied "well, they basically eat anything so it depends what's available - today's a lucky day for them and they are having the same as the big cats - horse meat" ... cue 10 year-old girl in crowrd to scream "that's gross" and run off crying.

  20. cor


    I'm no expert, but have witnessed horses being 'put down' by vets / owners using a special 'gun' device, applied to the forehead, that requires a hammer blow to set it off (penetrate skullbone and fire bullet).

    This is normally held as the most effective and humane ( = quick) way to put down horses/donkeys etc.

    I can't imagine a horse being k.o.'ed with a blow from a hammer alone.

    Oh well, enough equine CSI speculation.


    I do think it is a bit of a fuss, (I care about animals BTW) seeing as few puke at the thought of a Big Mac, but people get outraged if you show them a bloody cow carcass. Do they think those nice round burgers come from the burger fairies? FFS.

  21. asiaseen

    @ cor

    "Do they think those nice round burgers come from the burger fairies?"


  22. Juillen 1


    It's not just a hammer, it's a sledgehammer.. Those things used to break up stones and walls. Yep, I'd imagine it'd stun a horse just fine (there is anecdotal evidence in medieval history of hammermen stunning horses in full barding with hammers)..

    Agreed, it's not the most humane way, but when you're all out of money, what do you do? The world can be a nasty, unpleasant place, and this chap had to live with that. Not optimum in a 'civilised world', but sounds like he didn't have the money to live in a civilised world..

    Sounds like someone's trying to badger the guy.

  23. Gerry Doyle 1

    Not just dumb animals

    People eat meat, so animals have to be kept and then killed. There are standards set so that these animals do not suffer while they are being kept and do not suffer needlessly when they are killed for our benefit. This man starved and neglected the horse in his care, battered it with a hammer and then finished it off with a chainsaw. I am no sentimentalist when it comes to animals, but the cruelty and agony inflicted by this man is inexcusable.

    There are some things that should always be left to the experts, and it's not just IT.

  24. Philip Nicholls Silver badge

    Demjanjuk Manueovre

    Back end of the '80's in Oz, when the ertswhile generation of wheelers and dealers were being prosecuted seriatim it was called "Craft's Disease: as in :

    Can't Remember A F[laming] Thing


  25. This post has been deleted by its author

  26. asiaseen

    @ Joe Sinclair

    From the rear end, perhaps?

  27. Richard Parkin

    No need to stun first in UK

    No need to stun first in UK provided you are a Jew or Moslem. I believe some Moslems are OK with stunning before throat cutting but Jews are not

  28. proto-robbie

    Flogging the dead horse

    @ Gerry Doyle 1

    So he should have kept the old nag starving, and let the dogs starve too, to salve your bleeding heart? It's a cruel stark world when the money dries up.

    What he's guilty of is not telling the authorities in good time that he's been unable to look after his responsibilities, so that they can come and kill them all. In the same place I'd have killed the horse too, except I'd have shot it with one of the eighteen guns I'd own by divine right as a Merkin.

  29. Gerry Doyle 1


    It's not necessary to have a bleeding heart to acknowlege the suffering that this animal and the rest of his menagerie went through. It's not a cruel stark world - even when the money dries up, the SPCA would have sorted him out for nothing.

  30. fred 32

    wat someone else said, that was a sledge hammer. that will smash a rock or a brick with a single blow. unless the horses head was made of steel it should have been crushed with a single blow, it would have been epically traumatic to the brain, i don't see how it wouldn't be unconscious. sure it would remain "alive" as long as the heart remained beating but thats like pretending that the heart just stops right after you blow your brains out, it doesn't. the stupid guy probably just got too poor to afford so many animals.

  31. proto-robbie
    Paris Hilton

    @Gerry Doyle 1

    Hi Gerry

    I surmise that neither of us know anything about this case apart from what we've read here and are merely peddling opinions?

    That means we have no idea what state the rest of the animals were in. The horse was "emaciated" according to the Deputy - that could mean "ill" perhaps. It also was described as "bloody" and "missing fur", but that's a chainsaw for you. There is a significant difference between "alive" and being aware of pain.

    What I do know is that he chose a method of dispatching a horse that, while rather abrupt and unsuited to a Surbiton dinner party might not have been cruel in the slightest. A chainsaw seems quite a good choice of tool to butcher a horse - I wouldn't try it with a kitchen knife for example.

    Paris 'cos she's never done horse, but she does kick ass.

  32. proto-robbie

    @Gerry Doyle 1 again

    I suggest you look out your reading glasses - noone apart from a sheriff's deputy is saying any of the animals were starving or suffering. The horse he described as "emaciated, bloody and missing fur". In plod-speak that could mean "looked ill, and proceeded into a chainsaw".

  33. Gerry Doyle 1


    There's a great new system of indexing websites to enable people to do a 'search' for things that may be of interest to them.

    I tried it just now and it really works!

    It's really great for things like checking your facts, corroborating stories, being sure of your ground and y'know, taking care that you don't make a complete gobshite of yourself by making groundless assumptions or arguing in a vacuum.

    The Register has been known to feature 'computer' items of this nature from time to time, so with any luck they might do an article and you can find out all about it too!

  34. Damien Thorn

    After the horse has bolted.

    He killed the horse to feed the dogs he couldnt afford food for...

    We were not there and we certainly dont know what was/is going on in that mans head, but 40 dogs 1 horse = a couple of meals - what was his plan then? neighbours?

    It makes no sense, killing the horse would not of been a solution to his issues, if he couldnt feed the dogs then surely he could have called someone and said "hell ive got 40 dogs i cant feed"

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