SPRINGERVILLE, Ariz. - Wild horse rights advocates are calling on authorities to prosecute whoever is responsible for the reported killing of more than a dozen wild horses in the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest.
The Salt River Wild Horse Management Group said Sunday that a total of 15 horse carcasses have been found in the northeastern Arizona forest.
According to the National Forest Service, the dead animals were found near Forest Road 25 on the Alpine and Springerville Ranger Districts.
"The forest is currently coordinating with the appropriate officials in support of the investigation of the deceased horses," forestry officials said in a statement.
Simone Netherlands of the Salt River Wild Horse Management group in Arizona said the horses "are not protected by federal government, not protected by state laws, so it’s sickening that someone can just come here and kill them."
Anyone with information is asked to contact the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest Service.
Meanwhile, a $20,000 reward continues to being offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of whoever killed five wild horses in eastern Nevada late last year.
The Bureau of Land Management announced last week that the National Mustang Association pledged to double the previous $10,000 reward in the case.
It’s unknown if the Nevada and Arizona cases are related.
Authorities said five mortally wounded horses were discovered Nov. 16 in Jakes Valley, about 30 miles (48 kilometers) west of Ely.
They said the horses all were located within 600 yards of each other about 2 miles (3 kilometers) south of U.S. Highway 50, and an aborted fetus was attached to one of the dead animals.
The BLM is investigating and prosecuting the killings as part of the enforcement of the Wild Horses and Burro Act of 1971.
The Associated Press contributed to the report.