SIMPSONVILLE, Ky. (LEX 18) — Fifteen horses, including pregnant mares and foals, were found shot dead on a strip mine near the Floyd and Pike County line, on Dec.17 and then five more horses were found dead a week later.
"They had to have gone up there with ATV vehicles, with rifles and hunt them down and shoot them," President and CEO of the Kentucky Humane Society Lori Redmon said.
A pregnant mare and her colt are the two survivors of the herd. The pair was collected by Dumas Rescue, an animal rescue group in Eastern Kentucky, that keeps a close eye on the free roaming horses. The horses were then brought to the Willow Hope Farm in Simpsonville.
The Kentucky Humane Society said the first step in the horses' recovery is to get the mare an ultrasound.
"As soon as we can, when it's not as stressful for her, we'll go ahead and ween her baby. Because her baby is still nursing, so that's draining nutrients from her. So, really, our primary concern is the health of the mom, the mare, in there," Redmon said.
While a $15,000 reward for information that leads to an arrest is already being offered, the Kentucky Humane Society is also asking for donations to care for the horses.
"Not only the shooting but the collection and the transport was very stressful for them. So now they just get to take a breath, relax, just eat and drink and settle in," Redmon said.
The organization believes that there are three horses still alive from the same herd and Dumas Rescue will be back to the site to capture them.
Donations to Dumas Rescue can be made via PayPal at email@example.com
Both organizations work in partnership with local authorities in Eastern Kentucky to rescue, rehabilitate and re-home free-roaming horses in crisis.