SPRINGERVILLE—The Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest made announcements regarding several investigations into equine fatalities last week.
On October 17, the ASNF announced it had collaborated with various law enforcement agencies to investigate three horse deaths that occurred between this September and October. The first incident, on Sept. 18, resulted in a necropsy to determine the cause of death. The ASNF has said the investigation is ongoing.
The second incident occurred Sept. 30, with two deceased horses discovered on Capps Ranch Road near Pinedale.
“While the incident occurred on National Forest System land, the horses were private property of the owner; therefore, state agencies, the Arizona Department of Agriculture (Arizona Livestock) and the Navajo County Sheriff’s Office (NCSO) performed the investigation,” the ASNF wrote. It stated that the NCSO arrested a suspect on Oct. 11 in connection with that shooting and was cooperating with ASNF law enforcement agents to determine if the suspect was involved in any other incidents.
On October 4, a deceased horse was found with the appearance of having been killed by a predator “ . . . such as a mountain lion or bear,” the ASNF wrote. The investigation in that case is ongoing.
“The ASNF values our law enforcement partnerships with the Navajo and Coconino County Sheriff’s offices and Arizona Game and Fish,” the ASNF said and warned that “Any person who maliciously causes the death or harassment of any wild free-roaming horse or burro shall be subject to a fine of not more than $2,000, or imprisonment for not more than one year, or both.”
If members of the public encounter a dead horse in the forest, the service asks them to contact the district and report the incident.