Tuesday, October 20, 2015

$8,000 Reward Offered in Salt River Horse Killing

There are dozens of wild horses living along the Salt and Verde Rivers northeast of Mesa, Arizona.

 It was in the news not long ago that Tonto Forest officials announced a plan to remove the horses from their environment. The herd became controversial in that many folks let their voices be heard in opposition to that plan.  

On October 1st, 2015, an anonymous caller contacted the Salt River Wild Horse Management Group's hotline to report seeing a dead horse at the Salt River recreation area near Coon Bluff. The Coon Bluff Recreation area is one of several recreation sites along the lower Salt River.

A 12-year-old mare named Dotty was part of the controversial herd along the Salt River. When sheriff's deputies arrived on scene, she was found dead -- but sheriff’s officials said that their initial investigation showed no sign of Dotty being intentionally killed. 

So then, last week, sheriff's deputies changed their minds. Yes, it's true, four days later the agency issued another statement saying that the investigation into the animal's death was never closed and that further investigation revealed that Dotty had been shot. The shooter used a small caliber weapon. 

The case was subsequently turned over to the MCSO's Animal Crimes Unit for investigation as an animal cruelty case. 

But imagine that for a moment, they said that they did not suspect the horse was intentionally killed yet the horse was shot? While this all might sound a little strange, a necropsy was preformed on Dotty and that examination determined that Dotty had been healthy and showed no signs that it needed to be put down before being shot. 

If you find that reversal a little strange, how about the strange statement that came from Deputy Joaquin Enriquez, a Sheriff’s Office spokesman, who said last week that there is no evidence that the shooting was malicious -- and that the investigation remains open.

Let's just take a second to ask why would Deputy Enriquez say there was no evidence that the shooting was "malicious"?  Of course there is evidence that the shooting was malicious, the horse was shot for no reason other than someone wanting to shot her. 

OK, let's say that it was someone shooting at snakes who inadvertently shot Dotty accidentally, they should have come forward and said it was an accident. 

But since it was determined that Dotty was healthy and showed no signs of needing to be put down before she was shot, there is a good chance that someone intentionally shot her. Yes, that would mean that some jerk shot her for no reason other than simply wanting to shot a wild horse. That, my friends, is as malicious as it gets! 

Dotty was part of the herd that was in the news this summer when the U.S. Forest Service announced plans to round up and remove the nearly 100 horses near the Salt River. Those plans were halted in August after outcry from residents and politicians.

Now Maricopa County officials have announced that they are offering $8,000 for information in the case of the senseless killing of that free-roaming horse that never hurt anyone and was only a target for some jackass with a small-caliber firearm. 

The reward is being offered for any information directly leading to the arrest and conviction of the shooter or shooters involved, according to the statement from Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

"This reward money could go a long way in solving the case," Sheriff Arpaio said. "We will follow every lead, make every effort to find the suspect and bring justice to Dotty’s death."

Three donors put up the reward: $1,000 from the Schill Law Group, $5,000 from the International Society of the Protection of Mustangs and Burros, and $2,000 from the Salt River Wild Horse Management Group.

The management group, an advocacy organization, was responsible for stopping the proposed removal in August.

Arizona state Rep. Kelly Townsend, who helped organize the donation from the International Society of the Protection of Mustangs and Burros, is continuing to raise money to increase the reward, according to the news release.

Sheriff’s deputies are asking anyone with information to call the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office’s Animal Cruelty Hotline at 602-876-1681 or e-mail animal_cruelty@mcso.maricopa.gov.

To my way of thinking, a great lead as to who shot Dotty is how this crime will be solved. Whether it was someone shooting at snakes who shot Dotty accidentally, or whether it was someone who intentionally shot her, there is a real possibility that the shooter was not alone in that neck of the woods.  

Because of the real possibility that there is someone who knows the identity of the shooter, that person may want to tell someone about what he or she witnessed out there. Because of that, there's the real chance that the police may be getting a call to let someone know the name of the shooter.

I'm hoping that it was an accident and can get cleared up. But if it wasn't an accident, and instead it was some sadist who likes to hurt animals? Well then, I hope we find that person sooner than later for everyone's own good. 

We as a society need to brand people who like to hurt animals for enjoyment. Yes, I'm serious when I say that we need to identify them for the future. We need to identify them so that we can watch them to make sure they don't expand their sick desire and start hurting people. We need to do that because research tells us that that is usually their next step.

Yes, I believe that through vigilance we may be able to stop some sick bastard from hurting someone before it happens. Call it profiling, call it whatever is Politically Incorrect to call it, I really don't care.

I do care about about people and right and wrong. Whether its Muslims who have a blood-lust for hurting others, people on drugs stealing to take care of their habit, lazy asses who don't want to find a job and would rather rob others, or some sick SOB who finds it enjoyable to kill for fun, there are those in our society who we need to keep an eye on -- and we should.

And yes, that's just the way I see it.
Tom Correa

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