Fifteen horses — some of them pregnant or very young — appear to have been shot dead at a Kentucky strip mine in a “very large act of evil,” according to a new report.
The carcasses were discovered on a site along US Route 23 near the Floyd-Pike County line. Some of the horses were 1-year-old or younger, and others were pregnant, according to local outlet WYMT.
“This is very inhumane and it’s a very cruel act of somebody who just apparently had nothing else to do … just to go back on a strip job and shoot down horses who were, one of them obviously was feeding, had grass in its mouth,” Floyd County Sheriff John Hunt told the station. “It looked like a battlefield for just horses, we counted 15 that we found dead.”
Rescue groups on the site told the outlet it appeared the horses were hunted — and law enforcement added that it appeared a low-caliber rifle was used.
“Seeing them gunned down is … it’s beyond horrific,” Tonya Conn, with local group Dumas Rescue, told the outlet. “These horses were scattered in various, various places, distances from each other, so they had been shot, and they’d scattered, then hunted and shot down.”
Megan Goble, who lives near the site and whose family owns part of the land where the horses roamed, told NPR that at least two of the slain horses were pregnant.
“I’ve done rescue for a long time. I’ve seen some pretty bad things,” Goble told the network. “This was different. This was a very large act of evil, for lack of a better term. I mean, there’s no other way that I can describe it. Somebody went out of their way to go up there and kill these horses, and not even quickly, for no reason. No reason whatsoever.”
The animals lived in two main herds, she said — some brought to the wooded, secluded area by their owners and others who were born there.
Since reports emerged about the slaughter, more than 30 people have called in to pledge money toward a reward for information about the shooting, WYMT reported.
The reward, which was originally $500, is now estimated to be around $5,000.
“You know, we think of the bad of the person who did this, but you see so many good people wanting to help in so many ways,” Hunt told the station.
Whoever was responsible for the slaughter could face a minimum of animal cruelty charges, according to the report.
“At this time we are all reeling from the effects this horrendous scene has had on our group and the investigating officers,” Dumas Rescue posted to Facebook Wednesday. “Please keep us in your prayers.”
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