Since May, a total of 42 wild burro carcasses with gunshot wounds have been found along the Interstate 15 corridor between Halloran Springs, California, and Primm, Nevada, in various states of decomposition, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management announced.
The BLM is offering up to $10,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for the burro deaths in the Clark Mountain Herd Area.
In addition, the American Wild Horse Campaign, Return to Freedom and the Cloud Foundation organizations joined the BLM with plans to offer rewards of $2,500, $5,000 and $1,000 respectively. And this week, an anonymous donor behind The Platero Project, a burro protection initiative, added to the reward fund for justice in the case of the gunning down of wild California burros, bringing the total reward fund to more than $50,000.
The American Wild Horse Campaign reported in a news release Monday that the burros included an entire group of 16 and that one burro, which was barely alive, was humanely euthanized.
Bureau of Land Management law enforcement is leading the investigation into the illegal killings, in coordination with the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department, California Highway Patrol, and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.
“Wild horses and burros are an iconic part of the American West, and part of our national heritage. We will pursue every lead until we’ve arrested and prosecuted those responsible for these cruel, savage deaths, and we welcome the public’s help to bring the perpetrator or perpetrators to justice,” William Perry Pendley, the BLM’s deputy director for policy and programs, said in a news release.
“We want to thank our law enforcement for their assistance and support of this investigation and we are grateful for the willingness of the American Wild Horse Campaign, Return to Freedom and the Cloud Foundation to step up and offer their own rewards to help solve this heinous crime,” Pendley said.
“The persons who shot these innocent and beloved burros deserve to be brought to justice,” Suzanne Roy, executive director of the American Wild Horse Campaign, said in a statement released by the BLM. “We hope that an increase in the reward will lead to arrest and conviction for these cruel acts.”
“We are eternally grateful to the Platero Project for assisting in the effort to bring justice to these innocent animals who have been brutally gunned down,” Roy said in a separate news release. “Burros are amazing creatures and an iconic part of the American West. They deserve our utmost respect and compassion.”
Neda DeMayo, president of Return to Freedom Wild Horse Conservation, said. “America’s public lands belong to all of us. These cruel and hostile acts against federally protected animals strike at the heart of everyone working so hard for their protection and for humane, non-lethal solutions to management concerns. It’s our plan to raise this reward in hopes that someone will step forward with information that will help law enforcement end these senseless killings.”
Ginger Kathrens, director of the Cloud Foundation, said: “We’re very glad the BLM is taking this sick crime seriously. The burros belong to the American people and are beloved symbols of our nation’s history and pioneer spirit. They deserve to be protected.”
How to help
Anyone with information about this investigation is asked to call the WeTip hotline at 800-78CRIME (800-782-7463) or visit http://www.wetip.com
Callers may remain anonymous and be eligible for a reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of any person or persons responsible for the deaths of these protected animals.
At a glance
More information on the rewards offered by American Wild Horse Campaign, Return to Freedom and The Cloud Foundation can be found on the organizations’ websites.
The animals are federally protected under the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971.
The act protects wild, free-roaming horses and burros from capture, branding, harassment, or death; and considers them an integral part of the natural system of public lands managed by the BLM. Anyone arrested and found guilty of willfully violating a regulation issued pursuant to this Act, shall be subject to a fine of not more than $2,000, or imprisonment for not more than one year, or both. These penalties can apply to each count charged.