Increased reward and volunteers to help find horse's killer

By Monique Griego, 12News

There's now a new and increased effort to find the person that shot and killed, Dotty, one of the beloved free roaming Salt River horses.

Sheriff Joe Arpaio increased the reward for information leading to the arrest of Dotty's killer from $2,000 to $8,000.

MORE: Reward being offered for information about Salt River horse death

The Salt River herd gained lot of attention a couple months ago when outrage ignited over their possible removal. A move activists were able to stop.

PREVIOUS: Forest Service scraps plans to remove Salt River horses

The outcry against the roundup showed just how passionate people are about the herd and for the volunteers who help take care of them, Dotty's death is personal.

"We watched her for 12 years live a very healthy wild life on the river and for her to have this kind of an ending, is just so cruel and horrific," said Simone Netherlands, president of the Salt River Wild Horse Management Group, which put up the initial $2,000 reward in the case.

After an initial report said Dotty wasn't intentionally shot, last Friday the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office confirmed her killing was deliberate.

She was found last week near the Coon Bluff recreation area. Deputies say Dotty was shot by a small caliber weapon.

They also say a necropsy showed she was not sick or injured, ruling out a mercy killing.

"It's very, very, very disturbing to us and that's why we want to find out, so badly, why somebody would this," Netherlands said.

Thursday, Netherlands held a meeting at the Butcher Jones recreation area for the organization's new volunteers.

She says the recent controversy involving the Salt River herd's possible roundup led to four times the amount of people asking to help.

Lizzy Fitzgerald is one of them.

"I want to get involved, definitely want to get involved," Fitzgerald said.

As a volunteer she'll help watch over the horses, keep the areas around the river clean and keep an eye out for any trouble.

"I want to be part of this group it's important to me, I was born and raised here," Fitzgerald said.

More manpower may make it a little easier for the group to keep the rest of the herd from suffering the same fate as Dotty.

"We just really are so committed to finding out what happened to her because it's just absolutely awful," Netherlands said.

Anyone with information on the case is asked to call the Sheriff's Office's Animal Cruelty Hotline at 602-876-1681 or e-mail animal_cruelty@mcso.maricopa.gov.

Originally Posted By 12News