Three more wild horses found shot in Ochocos


Bodies appear to have been shot in the same manner as the first group of shot horses

After discovering three shot horses north of Big Summit Prairie about a week ago, U.S. Forest Service law enforcement investigators discovered three more on Friday.

“When the initial reports came in, the officers went up there and conducted an investigation,” said Forest Service Captain Dan Smith. “When they returned later Friday to do a much more exhaustive investigation, they searched the area a lot more and discovered the other horses.”

Smith could not elaborate on the manner of which the horses were shot, but said the newly-discovered trio of horses were shot in the same way as the first three.

The Central Oregon Wild Horse Coalition is offering a reward for any information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the people responsible for the shooting. That reward is current $1,500 and growing as people pledge money to fund it.

“We’re just a different philosophical camp from the people who are shooting these horses,” said Coalition president and founder Gayle Hunt. “We see tremendous value to these animals.”

Hunt said that some people consider the wild horses as dirty, unkempt, inbred animals with no value. She and her fellow coalition members see them much differently. Hunt noted that she uses one of the wild horses from the Ochocos as her saddle horse.

“He is perhaps the greatest horse I have ever owned,” she said. “He’s just got so much personality. There is no aggression in him. They just want to be our partners.”

Like Smith, Hunt did not divulge specifics about how the horses were shot, except to say that they weren’t clean shots. For her, this mirrors other shooting incidents.

“I have been on other cases where the horses suffered immensely, and there is no excuse for that.”

The U.S. Forest Service and the Crook County Sheriff’s Office, who is assisting with the case, are seeking any information that will help them find the person(s) responsible for the shooting.

“Even though the information may not seem important, please give us a call,” Smith said.