Wild horse deaths still a mystery

It’s baffling that no one has come forward with tips on who is killing the wild horses of the West Country despite a $21,000 reward for information, says Wild Horses of Alberta Society president Bob Henderson.

It’s baffling that no one has come forward with tips on who is killing the wild horses of the West Country despite a $21,000 reward for information, says Wild Horses of Alberta Society president Bob Henderson.

“It’s totally surprising. Nobody is saying anything. No information,” said Henderson, a former police officer.

The shooting death of another horse was recently confirmed in the Limestone Mountain area, near Mountain Aire Lodge, about 60 km west of Sundre. That is roughly the same place that 20 horses where shot and killed and left to rot in 2007. Since 2002, 30 horses have been found dead in the West Country.

The latest casualty was found on Sept. 9 by a society member, said Henderson. The information has been passed on to RCMP, which has been investigating the horse deaths and even staged a re-enactment of the shooting of three horses west of Sundre in April. Police said the CrimeStoppers segment produced one direct tip, which is being investigated. A couple of other tips have also come in.

Anyone convicted of animal cruelty faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison for indictable offences and up to a $10,000 fine and up to 18 months in jail for summary convictions under Canada’s Criminal Code.

Henderson hasn’t been out to the see the latest casualty. There’s not much point. By now, the remains would have been scavenged and spread all over.

“The bears are out like you wouldn’t believe,” he said. “It doesn’t take long for the carcasses to disappear.”

The slaughter of the feral horses saddens Henderson, who recently took visitors from Holland out to the West Country to take photos of the gentle animals.

“They just stand there and let you take their picture.”

Sundre RCMP officers familiar with the wild horse investigations were not available for comment on Wednesday.

pcowley@bprda.wpengine.com