Oregon Wild Horse Shootings Probed

Federal authorities in Oregon are investigating the deaths of three wild horses in a case eerily similar to shootings in 2011 that also claimed the lives of several wild horses.

Capt. Dan Smith of the U.S. Forest Service Law Enforcement and Investigations said that on Oct. 13, federal officers responded to a call about two injured horses discovered in the Ochoco National Forest near Pineville, Ore., in Crook County. Once on the scene, officers found a third injured horse, Smith said. The horses—two adults and one juvenile horse—had been shot, he said.

“It was a very difficult scene,” Smith said. “One horse was found mortally injured and officers had to put it down at the scene.”

The deaths were similar to the March 2011 deaths of three other wild horses, Smith said.

In that case Crook County Sheriff’s Department personnel discovered three wild horses dead in the Ochoco Forest. A joint investigation by the Forest Service, the County Sheriff’s Department, and the Oregon State Police Fish and Wildlife Division revealed that the two stallions and a pregnant mare had sustained gunshot wounds. A yearling accompanying the mare was unhurt.

Smith said that all the incidents took place on National Forest Service land that is home to wild horse herds. He said the area in which the horses were found is frequented by both woodcutters and hunters.

“Hopefully somebody saw something,” he said.

Smith declined to speculate on why the shooter might have been in that part of the National Forest.

In meantime, Smith said U.S. Forest Service Law Enforcement and Investigations welcome tips from anyone relative to the case.

“We've trying to find out who is doing this and any little bit of information is important to us,” Smith said.

Tipsters with information about the case should call 541/383-5798. Callers must indicate whether or not they wish to remain anonymous.

About the Author

Pat Raia

Pat Raia is a veteran journalist who enjoys covering equine welfare, industry, and news. In her spare time, she enjoys riding her Tennessee Walking Horse, Sonny.

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