Wild Horses

Wild horses have been found dead near the Heber Wild Horse Territory from gunshot wounds.

SPRINGERVILLE — Yet more horse deaths near the Heber Wild Horse Territory were confirmed last week in a release from the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests.

Over the weekend, the ASNF issued a press release that announced eight horses had been discovered deceased within the Black Mesa Ranger District on Jan. 10.

“The Forest Service law enforcement and equine experts, in partnership with the Navajo County Sheriff’s Office, are investigating the deaths of the horses,” the ASNF wrote. “Preliminary information indicates the horses’ deaths were caused by gunshot wounds. The Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests asks the public to remain patient and to avoid the area during the ongoing investigation.”

These deaths are just a few of many that have continued to plague the region.

In October, the Copper Era reported that the ASNF were investigating three other horse fatalities that had occurred between September and October.

In February of 2019 forest officials announced that they were investigating up to 16 horse deaths that had occurred at the end of the prior year.

Some of the dozens of reported deaths are from natural causes such as predator intervention, but an alarming amount have been attributed to vehicle impacts and gun fire.

Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest officials are requesting that if any persons encounter injured or deceased horses in the area, to contact the Black Mesa Ranger District at 928-535-7300 and report it to forest authorities immediately.

Those found guilty of these killings face the possibility of up to $2,000 in fines and a possible one year imprisonment.

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