Horse deaths under investigation on Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest
$5,000 reward offered for information leading to arrest of responsible parties
SPRINGERVILLE, Ariz. — Law Enforcement is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of parties responsible for four dead horses located outside of the Heber Wild Horse Territory, Jan. 7.
According to the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest, law enforcement officers responded to a report of a deceased horse on the Black Mesa Ranger District Jan. 7. Equine field necropsies were performed on all four horses and concluded that the horses had been shot.
“The seriousness of this and past horse-related incidents on the forest are of the greatest importance to me,” said Forest Supervisor, Anthony Madrid. “Much of the work around these unfortunate situations can only reach successful outcomes with the collective approach and partnership with the community. I am requesting assistance from our communities and publics to help us solve this case.”
In January 2020, U.S. Forest Service officials confirmed that 15 horses were found deceased in the Heber-Overgaard area.
Several horses died due to bullet wounds but other carcasses were too badly decomposed to determine the cause of death, Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests officials said in a statement Jan. 17, 2020.
In February 2019, four other horses were found dead inside the Heber Wild Horse Territory.
At that time, there was a total of 16 dead horses found since October 2018. Forest officials say 10 of these horses were shot, five were too decomposed to determine a cause of death and one was likely hit by a car.
Any information regarding these incidents should be reported to the tip line at Navajo County Sheriff’s Office at 1-800-78 CRIME (27463). To report a dead or injured horse, contact the Black Mesa Ranger District at (928) 535-7300.
Forest Service leadership is also reminding community members to stay clear of the scene to ensure the integrity of the investigation, safety of law enforcement and individual safety. This collaboration includes working with both the Navajo County and Coconino County Sheriff’s Offices.