By Chloe Detrick, Humane Society
October 27, 2016
The Humane Society of the United States is offering a reward of up to $2,500 for information leading to the identification, arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for the shooting of three wild horses in Tonto National Forest, Arizona. The Maricopa County Sheriff's Office is currently investigating the case. This reward adds to existing rewards of $2,500 offered by the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign and the Salt River Wild Horse Management Group and $1,000 from a private citizen, bringing the total to $6,000.
The Case: According to officials, the shootings occurred Friday, Oct. 21 around 6 p.m. at Pirate’s Island, near Pebble Beach Recreation Area off Bush Highway. One horse, a foal named Kai, was fatally shot and his body was mutilated. Two other foals were also shot and are being monitored by volunteers. A witness described the shooter as wearing black shorts and a dark green shirt. The Maricopa County Sheriff’s office has mobilized its mounted posse to search for additional evidence in the Tonto National Forest.
A Serious Crime: The wild horses of Salt River live in the Tonto National Forest. In May of 2016, Gov. Doug Ducey signed a bill into law which prohibits a person from taking, slaughtering or euthanizing a Salt River Horse. Violations of this law can result in being charged with a Class I Misdemeanour in Arizona, which can include up to six months in jail and a fine of no more than $2,500.
Kellye Pinkleton, Arizona state director for The HSUS, said: "Arizonans care deeply about the Salt River Wild Horses and deplore any cruelty against them. We join in partnership with the Salt River Wild Horse Management Group and the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office in calling for swift justice in this abhorrent act."
The Investigators: The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the case. Anyone with information regarding this incident is asked to contact their office at 602-876-1011. Calls are confidential.
Resources: The HSUS’s Wild Horse and Burro Program works to promote and advocate for the humane and effective management of wild horses and burros on federal lands. The HSUS works with state and federal wildlife agencies to offer rewards for information leading to the arrest and conviction of suspected poachers. Other services include assistance with internet wildlife trafficking investigations, donation of robotic decoys and forensic equipment, funds to support wildlife K-9 programs, outreach to prosecutors to encourage vigorous prosecution of poachers and legislative work to strengthen penalties for poaching.