Horse News

Dead Salt River Horse Dotty: Joe Arpaio’s Deputies Left Her Headless Corpse to Rot

NOTE:  We posted the article below, but received a credible comment from Vicki O’Neill stating “Speaking on behalf of Sheriff Arpaio who is a well known animal lover was wondering how the blame of burying the carcass falls on him?  Wasn’t the carcass floating in the river? What about the Forest Dept doing something about it? He was probably told the head had to be removed for an autopsy for forensic evidence.  He did help get money together for an award for the conviction of this killer.  Also we think it’s great that Arpaio pressed for investigation and charges against that awful kennel that neglectfully killed 20 dogs. Good for him!”

Our apologies to Sheriff Arpaio, and we agree, good for him.  Thanks, Vicki, for setting the record straight.

Source:  Phoenix New Times

Warning:  Graphic photo below.

by Stephen Lemons

Something’s rotten in Coon Bluff, thanks to Sheriff Joe and the MCSO.

That something is the headless carcass of Dotty, one of the famed Salt River wild horses, found on October 1, shot to death and floating in the river near Coon Bluff, a heavily trafficked part of the Tonto National Forest popular with campers, tubers, photographers, and picnickers.

Reportedly, the 12-year-old mare had been shot four times, three times in the head and once in the body.

The Salt River Wild Horse Management Group, a nonprofit dedicated to protecting the animals, suggested that the shooting of Dotty “could have been someone attempting a mercy kill if the horse was injured,” or it may have been “someone with cruel intent.”

Despite photos taken by passers-by showing what seemed to be obvious bullet holes in Dotty’s noggin, the Sheriff’s Office initially was unconvinced of foul play and issued an October 5 press release saying as much.

Days later, the MCSO reversed itself, stating in an October 15 press release that a necropsy of the animal done by a veterinarian “showed that the horse had been killed by gunshot” and had been healthy before the shooting.

Arpaio, supposed defender of four-legged beasts, eventually offered an $8,000 reward for the arrest and conviction of Dotty’s killer.

“We will follow every lead,” the sheriff promised at the time, “[and] make every effort to find the suspect and bring justice to Dotty’s death.”

Four months later, the investigation hasn’t budged an inch, and neither has Dotty’s desiccated, decapitated form, which remains on the sandy banks of the Salt River, a large gaping hole where its head used to be.

Seems Arpaio’s beige-shirts lopped off the head and left the blackened, bloated body to rot, inundating the area for weeks with the smell of death and clouds of flies and other insects.


If Arpaio and his minions really were all that concerned about the Salt River wild horses, why did they leave Dotty’s noggin’-less corpse to decompose near a campsite?

Read the rest of this article HERE.

15 replies »

  1. The body should have been buried to at least stop the flies and the smell. I’m sure they could have brought in a backhoe to dig the hole. If the sheriff didn’t know much about livestock he should have asked a vets office.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Terrible thing that Dotty the famed mare of the SRWH was murdered ..and in such a gruesome way. There should be some type of security system such as night vision cameras, security personnel monitoring their safety.

    Who knows why this devious murderer killed Dotty? Was it a random idiot just shooting at the horses or was it a deliberate atemp of the opposition retaliating because the roundups were cancelled?. Could they have done this to make an example that the horses weren’t safe there and needed to be moved?
    Looks like we’ll never find out although someone out there must know and isn’t saying.
    I hope Dottys killer has a great retribution.
    For what they did to this innocent mare.

    Speaking on behalf of Sherrif Arpio who is a well known animal lover was wondering how the blame of burying the carcass falls on him?
    Wasn’t the carcass floating in the river? What about the Forest Dept doing something about it? He was probably told the head had to be removed for an autopsy for forensic evidence.
    He did help get money together for an award for the conviction of this killer.
    Also we think it’s great that Arpio pressed for investigation and charges against that aweful kennel that neglectfully killed 20 dogs. Good for him!
    He’s been known to put animals above prisoners and put them in air conditioned buildings which is how it should be. The animals hadn’t done any criminal acts.
    Agreed it’s an aweful thing to leave poor Dotty like she was and not have a decent burial but how is Arpio the fall guy?
    Now that her skeleton is the only thing left perhaps they should bury her there in the place she lived and loved so much.

    Sherrif Arpio is not the person to be angry’s that ruthless killer who cold bloodedly killed a beautiful innocent mare and for what reason?
    Dottys body is just a shell of what once housed a beautiful being with a soul .
    May her spirit live on …wild and free splashing in the gentle waters of the Salt River.where she was born to be.


  3. Well said, Vicki. I imagine the bullets have been kept as evidence. That reporter must have something against the sheriff.
    A few people with shovels could still put some dirt over the bones or bury them and maybe put up a small marker.


  4. Horrid.. She had a pure soul. Animals are defenseless. Whoever committed this disgusting action, will be paid back by Karma. Her body should be buried, out of respect!! Some sort of security in that area is needed. RIP Dotty.


    • Has anyone heard of the Ian Somerhalder Foundation? Ian a producer, Director actor has teamed up with AWHP and RTF funding 20 000 dollars for PZP injections for the Virginia herd of over 1200 WH in Nevada. If has to be the PZP injections are far more humane than the proposed Nazi type experimental spayings that really need to be Not even thought of.
      This way they can stay where they are, no roundups, no infections or hemmoraging. More economical. Money for the states..
      Google the Ian Somerhalder Foundation.
      Just thought it was a little bit of some much needed good news.


  5. I’m not sure if forensics were pulled from the scene but if they weren’t they should had done that. Still, I realize how difficult it is to gather proof in this case. Likely the killer picked up the cases and river washed off any evidence. The only thing we know is that the killer is out there and might attack again.


  6. My question is if Dotty’s death was a mercy killing why is it that the person who shot her didn’t seek permission from animal control or law enforcement beforehand or report his action to authorities and justify it afterwards? There has been an epidemic of random, illegal shootings of wild horses in the past two or so years. It wouldn’t surprise me if they were all carried out by attention-seeking cowards.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Exactly. Should of reported it to the authorities first. She was reportedly in good health…so what could of been so wrong with her that the average person would notice to justify a mercy killing?
      never bought into that theory. I know i like to think it was a mercy killing because it’s hard to comprehend that somebody could actually do that.


  7. The SRWH are very vulnerable to being harrassed, harmed or used as target practice by someone who just wants to shoot a helpless animal.
    They are quite spectacular to watch and draw a lot of tourists which is good but there is always someone with a more sinister frame of mind. And yes that killer or killers could strike again.
    There really needs to be some type of surveillance stealth cameras or personell monitoring the horses for their safety but not the Forest Dept
    Warning signs posted of punishment by law to anyone caught harming them and Substantial rewards for those who report them. Many have fought very hard to save these Iconic horses and would like them safe from harm
    Dollys remains need to be buried or cremated with a plaque in her memory so she will never be forgotten as the innocent, unsuspecting victim she was.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The Forest Department wanted them off. Possibly supported by lobbyists who want to run cattle through there is one of the theories.


  8. Don’t forget about the Sunflower Allotment cattle folks as well… they also wanted the horses to go; maybe they know a thing or two about this incident.


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