SPRINGERVILLE – The Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests issued an updated press release, Wednesday, Jan. 13, regarding the Black Mesa Ranger District Horse Deaths.

On Saturday, Jan. 9, the Forest Service provided results from the initial investigation of horse deaths, including confirmation of four deceased horses due to bullet wounds. The ASNF continued the investigation based on a tip from the public about a possible fifth deceased horse. The most up-to-date and verified information confirms four deceased horses in total, including:

Three adult horses, including a pregnant mare, were found deceased on scene.

One foal found with severe injuries due to bullet wounds.

After further assessment, it was decided to humanly euthanize the foal due to the fatal wounds. This required dispatching additional Forest Service personnel whose credentials included proper clearance and training to carry and use a firearm.

The Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests (ASNFs) have been working together with the Heber Wild Horse Freedom Preservation Alliance and Friends of the Heber Wild Horses to ensure the total counted deceased horses identified is accurate. Forest and District leadership wants to thank these advocates and the community for helping patrol, expanding search efforts, and providing trusted information around the incident. The call for a collective approach and partnership with the community during this incident has been, and continues to be, critical. The ASNFs will continue to provide updates on the incident to public and media partners as the investigation proceeds.

Direct information regarding this incident to the Tipline Navajo County Sheriff’s Office: 1-800-78 CRIME (27463). Law Enforcement is offering up to $5000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of parties responsible.

To report a dead or injured horse, contact the Black Mesa Ranger District: 928-535-7300.

For questions, please contact the Apache-Sitgreaves NF’s Supervisor’s Office at 928-333-6280 or visit the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests website at http://www.fs.usda.gov/asnf.

(2) comments


This fish stinks at the head. Call Michael Bailey's office and ask them what happened to the complaint I sent to them last August. 602-514-7500 let it ring for a long time, they are all working from home.

Louie C

From Straight from the Horse’s Heart

December 28, 2018

Reader comment

Heber Wild Horses Freedom Preservation Alliance

We believe the Heber Wild Horse Territory management plan is not about protecting the horses but more about culling the herd which is something the Forest Service planned on doing in 2005. However, a court injunction in 2005 and a Federal Court Order in 2007 prevented them from doing so.

From the Court Order:


“The Forest Service agrees to refrain from any gathering or removing of horses within the Heber Wild Horse Territory as well as, on the Black Mesa and Lakeside Ranger Districts (which are considered the Sitgreaves National Forest) until the Forest Service completes, with public involvement, an analysis and appropriate environmental document pursuant to NEPA and develops a written Heber Wild Horse Territory Management Strategy. The Forest Service will involve the public, including the Plaintiffs, in scoping for this analysis.”

So in order for the Forest Service to carry out their 2005 plan to remove the horses they are required to have a management strategy. We would like to make it clear that according to documents made public by the Forest Service, the Heber Wild Horse Herd population has remained consistent from 2005 to the present day with no Forest Service gathers and without the use of birth control. There is no proof of an overpopulation of free-roaming horses in the Sitgreaves National Forest.

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