By Pat Raia, The Horse
November 9, 2016
A reward being offered in connection to the fatal shooting of a foal belonging to Arizona’s Salt River herd has grown to $25,000.
The Salt River herd, which resides in the Tonto National Forest, is made up of feral horses not protected by federal law. However, earlier this year, Arizona passed legislation making it unlawful to harass, shoot, injure, or slaughter a Salt River horse and placing the animals under Maricopa County Sheriff's office and U.S. Forest Service jurisdiction.
On Oct. 21, witnesses reported seeing someone shooting at three Salt River horses with a rifle, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio told The Horse, and 7- to 10-month-old was later found fatally shot in the head and neck.
The Salt River Wild Horse Management Group (SRWHMG), American Wild Horse Preservation, Humane Society of the United States, and the Scottsdale, Arizona-based Schill Law Group offered a reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for the shooting; with contributions from the public, it totaled $12,500.
On Nov. 7, SRWHMG announced that the Animal Recovery Mission (ARM.) of Florida had matched the money already in the fund, bringing the reward to $25,000.
“In our experience, in cases that have become stagnant, we found that offering an extremely large reward often succeeded in bringing a crucial tip forward,” said ARM Present and founder Richard Couto. “These kinds of despicable acts upon animals are unacceptable and taking a stance is a moral and societal obligation to do the right thing. In addition, we hope it will discourage and any future heinous acts against the Salt River wild horses.”
The Maricopa County Sheriff's Office is investigating the incident. If caught, those responsible could face Class 6 felony charges, Arpaio said.
Simone Netherlands, SRWHMG president, hopes the reward will lead to an arrest.
“Somebody knows exactly what happened, and that person can ensure that justice is served while receiving a financial reward at the same time,” she said.
Anyone with information should call the Maricopa County Sheriff's office at 602/876-1681 or the SRWHMG at 480/868-9301.