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October 22, 2013

Reward Offered in Shooting Deaths of Central Oregon Wild Horses

Central Oregon Wild Horse Coalition, The U.S Forest Service, Crook County Sheriff

The Humane Society of the United States is offering a reward of up to $5,000 for information leading to the identification, arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for the shooting this month of six wild horses in the Big Prairie Summit region of the Ochoco National Forest in Crook County, Ore.

The Case: The U.S. Forest Service gives the following account:  On or about Oct. 13, hunters discovered two wild horses who had been shot and killed in the Big Prairie Summit region in the eastern portion of the Ochoco National Forest in central Oregon. They also found a third horse, a juvenile, badly injured from gunshot wounds. The third horse was euthanized. On Oct. 18, Forest Service investigators combed the scene and found three more horses shot and killed.

The HSUS reward offer of $5,000 is in addition to $2,000 being offered by the Central Oregon Wild Horse Coalition, a nonprofit group established to protect and preserve the wild horses of central Oregon.

The shooting deaths of six wild horses in the spring of 2011 remain unsolved, despite an outstanding $4,000 reward offer.

Animal Cruelty: Getting the serious attention of law enforcement, prosecutors and the community in cases involving allegations of cruelty to animals is an essential step in protecting the community. The connection between animal cruelty and human violence is well documented. Studies show a correlation between animal cruelty and all manner of other crimes, from narcotics and firearms violations to battery and sexual assault.

“Wild horses roaming free on our public lands are a national treasure to be cherished and protected,” said Scott Beckstead, senior Oregon state director for The Humane Society of the United States. “Shooting these majestic creatures is not only an act of depraved cruelty, but also a serious criminal offense. We applaud the U.S. Forest Service and the Crook County Sheriff for taking these crimes seriously, and for their dedication in working to bring the perpetrators to justice.”

The Investigators: The U.S. Forest Service and Crook County Sheriff are investigating. Anyone with information about the case is asked to call Capt. Dan Smith, U.S. Forest Service, (541)383-5798; or the Crook County Sheriff’s Office, (541)447-6398.

Resources: The HSUS Animal Cruelty Campaign raises public awareness and educates communities about the connection between animal cruelty and human violence while providing a variety of resources to law enforcement agencies, social work professionals, educators, legislators and families. The HSUS offers rewards in animal cruelty cases across the country and works to strengthen laws against animal cruelty. To see information on statistics, trends, laws and animal cruelty categories, go to humanesociety.org.

Media Contact:  Cheylin Parker, (301)258-1505; cparker@humanesociety.org

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