Story by Kim Tobin and Barney Lerten, KTVZ.COM
Human Cruelty Knows No Bounds
PRINEVILLE, Ore. — Authorities said Thursday they are looking for tips from the public in hopes of finding whoever shot and killed three wild horses east of Prineville – one of which was pregnant and accompanied by her year-old foal, which was found unhurt.
Crook County sheriff’s Deputy Brian Bottoms made the grisly discovery around 2 p.m. Monday while on patrol in the Ochoco National Forest about 18 miles east of Prineville, said Det Sgt. Travis Jurgens.
“It was definitely an intentional shooting of the three horses,” said Jurgens. “We have undetermined number of rounds that were fired at this point.”
Bottoms found the dead horse along a spur road off Forest Road 150 in the Douthit Creek drainage, near the Ochoco Ranger Station, Jurgens said. Further investigation led to the two others, for a total of two stallions and a mare.
The mare appears to have been pregnant and had a foal about 1 years old with her at the time, nudging her, trying to get her back on her feet when the deputy arrived, Jurgens said. The foal was unhurt but left abandoned by the mare’s death.“It was determined that all three horses had been shot and killed with a firearm for no apparent reason,” Jurgens said, adding that Bottoms was able to obtain evidence by having come upon the “fairly recent” shooting scene.
Anyone with information was asked to contact the sheriff’s office at (541) 447-6398 or contact the Crime Stoppers Tip Line at 1-877-876-TIPS. You can remain anonymous and you may be eligible for a cash reward.
As a member of the Central Oregon Wild Horse Coalition, Krista Lee hung posters around Prineville, asking for the public’s help in finding whoever shot the horses..
“I think that it’s just very shocking,” said Lee. “There are so many people that love and care about these horses — it’s like having someone come into your own home and kill a family member.”
What makes Lee even angrier is that this is not the first time an attack like this has happened. Since 2002, Lee said there have been similar attacks in the area.
“Anywhere from one to three horses being killed per time,” said Lee. “And they’re still doing it.”
Lee said she and members of the coalition are working hard to get the word out to the public, in hope of finding whoever is responsible for hurting the innocent animals.
“If there’s a horse you want to ride to Hell and back on, these are the horses you want to do it with,” said Lee. “So to remove them or harm them is beyond possible thinking.”
The Central Oregon Wild Horse Coalition also was offering a reward of $1,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of whoever shot and mutilated the horses.