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$20K reward: Someone is shooting horses to death in Kentucky and the number has grown to 20

Horses shot in Kentucky

FLOYD COUNTY, Ky. — Six more horses have been found shot and killed in Floyd County, Kentucky, bringing the total number of dead horses to 20, a sheriff’s sergeant and horse rescue group said Monday, Dec. 23.

The dead horses ranged from foals to full-grown horses, some of which were pregnant, and all appeared to have died from gunshot wounds, Floyd County sheriff’s Sgt. Kevin Shepherd said.

All 20 were found throughout a former strip mining area. Dumas Rescue, an animal rescue group, was leading the search for more of the free-roaming herd that inhabits the area, its president, Tonya Conn, told CNN.

She said it’s a remote area, making the search difficult. They’ve been able to search about 4,000 acres a day, covering 80% of the area since Dec. 16.

The search was expected to end Saturday, Dec. 28 Conn said.

Searchers found the bodies spread out. Conn said she believes that when the shooting began, the horses scattered, and then the shooter tracked them down and killed them.

They were helping conduct field necropsies, Conn said — unable to move most of the horses.

Conn said the herd had about 35 horses in October. Because most of them were horses that had been abandoned by their owners, the horses were very approachable to humans, Conn said.

Volunteers rescued seven horses before the killings started. They believe about six were left following the shootings, Conn said.

Dumas Rescue was working to rescue them, but the rain-saturated ground was making the rescue operation on the old mining access roads treacherous, even impassible, she said.

Sgt. Shepherd said the deaths were under investigation. Officials in Lexington, Kentucky began conducting a necropsy on a foal Monday and hoped to find bullet fragments, he said, adding it appeared a small-caliber weapon was used to shoot the horses.

The incidents began Dec. 16 when a resident called 911. Some of his horses broke out of a fenced area. He later found them shot to death.

Dumas Rescue offered a $20,000 reward for information that leads to the arrest of those responsible.

This is the largest use of resources for the organization since it was formed in 1999.

Five volunteers make up Dumas Rescue and they normally foster rescue animals in their own homes before they’re transported to no-kill shelters.

Dumas Rescue set up a fundraiser to raise money for the horses.

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