Heber Wild Horse Shooting Reward

For Immediate Release:

©Tim and Janine Shockey

Phoenix, AZ (January 11, 2007) - The Tucson-based Animal Defense Council (ADC) announced today that it has joined with the Animal Welfare Institute (AWI), In Defense of Animals (IDA), the International Society for the Protection of Mustangs & Wild Burros (ISPMB), The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), Tucson horse advocates, Julianne French and Carol Grubb, and residents across Arizona to offer a reward of $11,000 dollars for information leading to the arrest and conviction of any person(s) responsible for the recent shooting deaths of at least seven wild horses in the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest, near Pinedale, Arizona.  A representative of these groups has contacted the Arizona Department of Agriculture and is working cooperatively with that agency to solve this horrible crime.

Based on an abundance of evidence, the dead unbranded and free-roaming horses may be protected under the Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act (WFHBA). Descendants of the horses occupied the area since at least 1653.  In 1971, following passage of the WFHBA, a 14-thousand acre territory was set aside for protection of these wild horses.

Bodies of six of the horses were discovered last week; all had been shot. A seventh horse was observed limping with a wound in his side and may have been a victim of the same shootings. In August, a young wild chestnut stallion also was found dead in the Pinedale area, having been shot in the head.  In total, in the past five months, at least seven horses have been found dead in the area.  All evidence indicates that they were killed deliberately.

Killing these horses may be a violation of the WFHBA, in which case each violation is punishable by a fine of up to $100,000 and one year in prison. Shooting a horse and causing that horse to suffer also is a criminal act under the Arizona Cruelty to Animals law. Persons convicted of animal cruelty can be sentenced to jail time.

To qualify for the reward, anyone with information about the person(s) responsible for this crime should call attorney Anthony Merrill of Bryan Cave LLP at (602) 364-7174 or can submit information via e-mail at reportabuse@awionline.org.  Alternatively anyone with information can contact the Arizona Department of Agriculture at (800) 294-0305 (select option 3).  Concerned citizens who would like to contribute to the reward fund should send checks to the Animal Welfare Institute/Heber Wild Horse Reward Fund, P.O. Box 3650, Washington, DC 20027.

IDA, AWI, ISPMB and Pat Haight are plaintiffs in an ongoing civil lawsuit against the US Forest Service to protect the Heber wild horses. Mr. Anthony Merrill is lead attorney in the case.

AWI is a national animal protection organization headquartered in Washington, DC. IDA is a national animal protection organization headquartered in San Rafael, CA. ISPMB is a wild horse and burro advocacy organization headquartered in Lantry, SD.  The HSUS is a national animal protection organization headquartered in Gaithersburg, MD.

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