Death Toll in AZ Wild Horse Massacre Rises as $25,000 Reward Offered for Arrest of Killers

ALPINE, ARIZONA (October 9, 2022)– Today, the Salt River Wild Horse Management Group  (SRWHMG) and the American Wild Horse Campaign (AWHC) joined forces to offer a $20,000 reward for the arrest and conviction of the perpetrators of a brutal horse killing in the Apache National Forest near Alpine, Arizona. At the same time, the groups announced that the death toll of the massacre has dramatically risen to 15 horses fatally shot with 20 still missing and presumed dead. 

Last week, the organizations expressed outrage and horror at the brutal slaying of the Alpine horses and demanded a comprehensive and transparent investigation into the heinous crime, and called on Arizona legislators to legally protect this historic herd much like the Salt River Wild Horses.

“The gunmen who are targeting these horses have inflicted enormous suffering on these innocent animals and caused immense trauma to the people who love them,” said Simone Netherlands, President of the SRWHMG, “We are offering this reward on behalf of horse lovers from around the world who are demanding the capture, arrest, and prosecution of the cold-blooded killers who are responsible for this crime.”

Netherlands’ group is also calling for state or federal legislation to protect the Alpine wild horse herd, citing the Arizona state historian Marshall Trimble who has stated  "There is sufficient historic evidence to confidently state these Alpine wild horses have been in the Apache Forest since the time of the first explorers. The Forest Service must be stopped from removing this historic herd."

“The perpetrators of this heinous crime must be brought to justice swiftly and the historic Alpine wild horses must be granted protection, not only from killing and abuse but also from the Forest Service and its plan to eradicate them from the Apache National Forest.” Said Suzanne Roy, Executive Director of the AWHC

The Forest Service is currently in the highly controversial process of capturing and removing the Alpine wild horses from the Apache Forest and selling them at auction without limitation on slaughter. The AWHC and SRWHMG urge the Forest to reevaluate its plan in light of this recent tragedy and work towards collaborative solutions to protect and preserve this historic herd living along the Coronado Trail. 

Another advocacy organization, Animal Wellness Action, has pledged $5,000 towards the reward fund, bringing the total reward to $25,000. 

Photographs of the scene are available here. WARNING: EXTREMELY DISTURBING CONTENT. 

This is a developing story and AWHC and the Salt River Wild Horse Management Group will be issuing further statements as information becomes known. 

About the American Wild Horse Campaign

The American Wild Horse Campaign (AWHC) is the nation's leading wild horse protection organization, with more than 700,000 supporters and followers nationwide. AWHC is dedicated to preserving the American wild horse and burros in viable, free-roaming herds for generations to come, as part of our national heritage. In addition to advocating for the protection and preservation of America's wild herds, AWHC implements the largest wild horse fertility control program in the world through a partnership with the State of Nevada for wild horses that live in the Virginia Range near Reno.

About the Salt River Wild Horse Management Group

The Salt River Wild Horse Management Group (SRWHMG) is an Arizona non-profit organization established to protect, monitor, and scientifically study the Salt River Wild Horses. The SRWHMG has been spearheading the effort to secure lasting protections for this iconic and beloved wild horse herd in the Tonto National Forest. The group partners with the State of Arizona for the humane management of the Salt River herd, including a highly successful fertility control program that has stabilized population growth within its first two years.