LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — UPDATE OCT. 18: Federal authorities and conservation groups are hoping some cold hard cash will get someone to talk in order to catch whoever is behind nearly 3 dozen "horrific" shooting deaths of wild burros about an hour south of Las Vegas.
"It's a horrible thing to contemplate, to think that someone, for no good reason, would be pulling over to the side of an interstate and shooting federally protected wild burros," said Cory Golden with Return to Freedom Wild Horse Conservation
Authorities say the investigation involves several law enforcement agencies but so far, there have not been enough leads to develop a suspect or suspects.
"It's really horrific and I think the size of the reward fund gives you a sense of how near and dear to the hearts of many people that the wild burros are," added Golden.
Authorities tell KABC the burros were found with wounds to their necks and heads, likely from a rifle, and near a popular watering hole for the animals.
"We are very grateful for everyone who's helped us out so far, everyone who's supported the investigation and we're just looking for the public to help us and provide some tips to help us capture this person responsible for the killings," said Sarah Webster with the Bureau of Land Management.
UPDATE OCT. 17: There is now a $100,000 reward available for information leading to an arrest and conviction in the shooting deaths of 46 wild burros in California.
The reward was increased following a $32,000 pledge from the Roy Dunlap Spay & Neuter Foundation.
It was originally reported that 42 burros had been killed. Since then, another 4 burros have been found. However, it is not believed that they are "new" killings. Just that it took longer to find the other 4 burros.
Anyone with information about the shootings is asked to call (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(s) and conviction(s) of any person(s) responsible for the deaths of these federally protected animals.
The reward being offered to identify, arrest and convict the person or people responsible for shooting over 40 federally protected wild burros in the Clark Mountain Herd Area of southern California is growing.
The Humane Society of the United States is offering a reward of $2,500, and the Platero Project is offering a reward of up to $32,500, for information leading to the identification, arrest and conviction of those responsible for this crime. This reward adds to the existing rewards offered by the Bureau of Land Management ($10,000), the American Wild Horse Campaign ($2,500), Return to Freedom ($5,000) and The Cloud Foundation ($1,000) bringing the total to over $50,000.
Since May 2019, 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. BLM 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.
The wild burros living in the Clark Mountain Herd Area 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.
Kitty Block, president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States, said, "We are deeply disturbed by this wanton crime and the senseless slaying of our nation’s wild burros. Together with the BLM and other organizations we are calling for swift justice for these heinous and indefensible crimes against animals. Anyone who is capable of this level of violence must be held accountable.”
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(s) and conviction(s) of any person or persons responsible for the deaths of these protected animals.