Heber Wild Horse. iStock image.

Wild horse killings leave Arizona community on edge


DENVER, March 6 (UPI) — Someone has been shooting wild horses in a national forest near Heber-Obergaard, Ariz., for the last 16 months, and the unsolved crimes are tearing apart the small community.

Some 35 horses have been found dead in the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest, with most of them killed by bullets, authorities said. Local horse advocates and those who don’t like the horses’ presence blame each other for the deaths.

Most recently, 15 horses were found shot between Jan. 9 and 12, said Kacy Ellsworth, spokeswoman for the U.S Forest Service.

No arrests have been made, and authorities declined to say if they believe the same person or multiple shooters have been committing the crimes.

“The investigation is ongoing,” Ellsworth said. A $5,000 reward is offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the shooter or shooters.

“The series of horse deaths in the vicinity of the Heber Wild Horse Territory, about 110 miles northeast of Phoenix, is an issue we are taking seriously and diligently investigating,” the Forest Service said in a statement.

The horses are wild animals, but protected by the Wild and Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971. Killing a wild horse can lead to a fine of up to $2,000 and a maximum of one year in prison, or both. Read more »

Eight days left to speak up for this Herd

The U.S. Forest Service is taking public comment online until March 16, 2020 regarding the future management of this herd.

It is imperative that they hear from all of us who love and value these horses, wherever we are. Submit your comments here. Talking points here.

Thank you for taking action.

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