Reward Offered for Information on Shot, Abandoned Horse

An unidentified resident of Deschutes County, Ore., is offering a $1,000 reward for information about the shooting and abandonment of Trooper, a 6-year-old Arabian gelding. Forest Service Law Enforcement Officer Fred Perl and a volunteer group of local horse owners brought Trooper out of the Deschutes National Forest near Sisters, Ore., on Oct. 17. A group of hunters tipped authorities to the horse's presence after they found him suffering from a gunshot wound to the head and an older leg injury that showed signs it had been recently treated.

"A veterinarian, or a farrier, or a neighbor knows something about this horse," said Deschutes Sheriff's Department Captain Marc Mills.

Trooper, shot horse found in woods

Trooper had a gunshot wound to the head, as well as an older leg injury.

Investigators suspect that Trooper was taken into the forest by a financially strapped owner who attempted to euthanize the horse.

"Or there could have been hunters on horseback, and when the horse became injured they tried to put him down," Mills said. "Right now we just don't know."

According Sarah Cook, office manager and technician at Bend Equine Medical Center, where Trooper is recovering, a bullet entered the horse's head behind his left eye, where it remains. Surgery to remove the eye and access bullet fragments will take place in coming weeks.

"Trooper had lost a large volume of blood from the gunshot wound, and is being treated for an abscess behind his eye, so he's not strong enough for surgery right now," Cook said.

Trooper's shooter could be charged with first-degree misdemeanor animal neglect and Class B felony animal abuse, Mills said. The neglect charge is punishable by a fine of up to $2,500 and up to one year in the county jail, and animal abuse is punishable by a fine up to $5,000 and up to one year in jail. The individual would also be ordered to pay restitution for Trooper's veterinary and other care costs.

Upon full recovery, Trooper will reside at the Crystal Peaks Youth Ranch, a facility which provides equine-assisted therapy for abused and neglected children.

Meanwhile, Mills hopes Trooper's ordeal remains an isolated case.

"But with feed prices going up, it wouldn't surprise us if we did see more cases like this," Mills said.

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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