Today’s Globe and Mail brings more sad news, but a flicker of hope as it looks like police are getting closer to nailing whoever’s been shooting wild horses:
Police say they are closing in on the person believed to be responsible for a series of wild-horse killings in Central Alberta, as a resident riding horseback in the same area stumbled on four more carcasses this week.
“I’m getting some good tips coming in,” RCMP Corporal Dave Heaslip said yesterday.
The livestock investigator, who was careful not to divulge too much information for fear of scaring off the suspect, is planning to put his other cases temporarily on hold over the next few days as he prepares the evidence, including the use of DNA.
“I want to get this guy,” Cpl. Heaslip said.
On Tuesday, a family of four horses — a stallion, mare, yearling and foal — were found shot to death and left to rot in the bush off a lease road near Sundre, about 130 kilometres northwest of Calgary.
The bodies were located about 10 kilometres from where skeletal remains of a mare and two foals were discovered earlier this month along a dirt service road.
Police believe all seven animals were shot some time in December or early January.
Now, at least 20 feral horses have been found shot dead in the Sundre area since September, 2004, crimes that Cpl. Heaslip believes are linked.
So do members of the Wild Horses of Alberta Society, a non-profit group that aims to protect the animals and has offered a $6,500 reward for information that leads to an arrest.
“It is chilling to think that the perpetrator is showing his contempt not only [for] the horses, but [for] society in general by killing again,” member Doreen Henderson wrote on the group’s website recently.
“It could be the work of a copycat killer, however, I think it is the same psychotic, trigger-happy individual, lifting his proverbial middle finger at everyone,” she continued.
There are perhaps 200 feral horses that roam the foothills and forested area along the eastern slopes of the Rockies, but the province says they are descended from domestic animals and does not consider them wildlife.
The wild-horse society wants the province to increase the penalties against those caught killing or abusing the animals.
Right now, the maximum fine for illegally killing a feral horse is $2,000.