LBN’s Bob Donley reports that there has been a casualty in the herd of wild horses that inhabit the Salt River area in Arizona. LBN previously reported on a plan by federal officials to round up and relocate the horses, claiming that the animals were a public hazard. The decision caused an outcry in several quarters, including requests for reconsideration from both of Arizona’s senators. The U.S. Forest Service decided to delay the roundup.
Recently, a twelve-year-old mare was found dead, floating in the river. The mare, a spirited red horse with a white stripe on her forehead, is the fourth horse to be shot and killed in the last two years. She was shot with a small caliber weapon. The Maricopa County sheriff’s office said that there was no evidence that the horse was intentionally killed. There was speculation that the shooting was a “mercy killing” by someone who thought the horse was injured.
The Forest Service considers the Salt River horses to be strays rather than wild horses. If the horses were considered wild, they would be afforded protection under the federal Wild Free Roaming Horse and Burro Act of 1971. The Salt River Wild Horse Management Group, which has been fighting to protect the horses, announced just hours ago that it has, at least for now, dismissed its lawsuit against the U.S. Forest Service based on assurances from the Forest Service that it has no present plans to round up the horses.
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