Increased Reward and Volunteers to Help Find AZ Wild Horse’s Killer

, 12News

“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…”

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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


  1. Even though it won’t bring this horse back … if they actually arrested and prosecuted the wild horse and burro killers to the maximum sentence, it would certainly help to stop future killings. As I posted the other day, a mid-Nevada man (welfare rancher family) shot and killed SIX of our wild burros a few years ago and was actually arrested and the BLM agreed to let him off with only ONE count. The killers and the BLM both consider our wild horses and burros to be vermin. IMO, it is the killers who are the vermin.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Back about 20 or so years ago, three Marines on leave took out an entire herd just outside of Reno; one tiny filly survived. She was adopted by a small bachelor band, but because she was so young, they couldn’t feed her, so humans had to intervene.
    Meanwhile, the three jerks were arrested, but justice moved so slowly over such a long period of time, they were eventually charged with misdemeanors and the case choked.
    I think these asshats killed nearly 30 horses. One that didn’t die immediately they tortured with a fire extinguisher, spraying him in the face until he died.
    We expect justice for these animals when they are destroyed illegally. Sheriff Arpaio is well respected and diligent (some might say a bit TOO diligent). Whatever gets the job done, I hope – so much – that this cretin is caught and punished to the fullest extent the law allows.
    I have wondered this more over the past five years, but when and why did it become so dangerous to be a horse in this country?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I have a bad feeling that, somehow, the guys that pushed USFWS to open the Sunflower allotment to cattle might know something about this. Wonder as well if any proof was found near the place of the shooting, like ammo cases or something.


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