UPDATE | Kentucky Humane Society rescues horse from Floyd Co. herd

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FLOYD COUNTY, Ky. (WYMT/WSAZ) -- UPDATE 1/13/20 @2:30 p.m.
The Kentucky Humane Society says it has received a horse that was a part of the free-roaming herd that was shot in Floyd County.

WSAZ's sister station WYMT reports the six horses are not from an addition shooting, they just were not found when 15 others were Tuesday.

The horse was captured by Dumas Rescue, a local rescue facility in Eastern Kentucky.

The filly is believed to be the daughter of Hope, the pregnant mare who was rescued in late December, and sister to Knox, the weanling colt.
All three horses are at the Kentucky Humane Society’s Willow Hope Farm in Simpsonville.

Dumas Rescue is working to capture the remaining horses from the herd. KHS reports they were about to rescue the last three survivors from the herd when someone shot a gun in the distance that spooked the horses.

At least 20 horses were found dead near a strip mine near Floyd County along US 23 in December.

If you have any information about the shooting of the herd, you can call the Floyd County Sheriff's Office at (606) 886-6171.


UPDATE 12/24/19 @11:05 a.m.

At least 20 horses were found dead on a strip mine in Floyd County.

More than one dozen horses were found shot last week and six more were discovered during a re-canvas of the area over the weekend. Officials believe all of the horses were killed at the same time and the latest finds were missed in the first discovery.

The Floyd County Sheriff's Office transported one of the dead horses to Lexington Monday for an autopsy. They hope to have a ballistics test performed on the bullet found in the horse.

The horses were part of a nearly 30-horse herd that was often visited and fed by members of the community.

"Sad that them just being friendly with people and seeing people all the time probably was a reason that they were shot," said Detective Kevin Shepherd.

According to Shepherd, the horses probably allowed the shooters to get close because they have grown to trust the community.

According to our sister station, WYMT, Dumas Rescue is working to find a way to get the surviving horses off of the mountain, but officials say that it may be difficult based on the terrain and the stress the horses likely went through when the others were killed.

"The whole atmosphere, it's just heavy. It's quiet," said Megan Goble, owner of Bones and Bows Dog Salon. "A lot of life was lost and you can just feel it."

Goble was one of many people from the community who helped Dumas Rescue search the area. She said the horses have been on that mountain, which her family frequented while she was growing up for more years than she can recall.

"People in the community was feeding the horses. We took some feed to them," Shepherd said. "So, they're being taken care of. It's just a matter of step-by-step, just trying to get them off the mountain."

Detective Shepherd said the community outpour has been overwhelming. He said tips have been coming in since the initial announcement. He said there are currently no concrete suspects, but the office is planning to follow every lead until the case is solved.


UPDATE 12/23/19 @ 5:40 p.m.
WSAZ spoke to the Floyd County Sheriff today, who tells us one of the horses was taken to the University of Kentucky for a forensic examination.

The reward for information that leads to an arrest remains at $20,000.
Money poured in from around the world after the sheriff's daughter put up the initial $500.

Carl Hall lives near where the horses were shot and says the community wants justice.

"I think it's a terrible thing to happen," Hall said. "I don't understand why anyone could be that cruel to an animal."

If you have any information you can call the Sheriff's Office at 606-886-6171.

UPDATE 12/22/19 @ 5:40 p.m.
Six more horses have been found dead in Floyd County, Kentucky.

WSAZ's sister station WYMT reports the six horses are not from an additional shooting, they just were not found when 14 others were Tuesday.

The horses were all found along a strip job site near the Pike and Floyd County line on US 23.

There is a $20,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of whoever is responsible for the horses deaths'.

UPDATE 12/20/19 @ 10:10 a.m.
The reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of whoever is responsible for the death of 14 horses in Floyd County has ballooned to $15,000.

The reward money comes from multiple agencies, including $5,000 donation from the Humane Society of the United States, a contribution from the Kentucky Humane Society of $2,500, a donation from local donors in eastern Kentucky of $2,500, and a contribution of $5,000 from a private California donor.

Deputies in Floyd County, along with members of Dumas Animal Rescue, headed back to the site of the crime near the Pike and Floyd County line Thursday to gather additional evidence in the investigation. The sheriff says the site can only be accessed by ATV/UTV, so they are coordinating with individuals who can help them reach the area.

According to a release from the Humane Society, a man living near an abandoned strip mine found five horses dead after his horses entered the mine. When deputies responded and searched, they discovered a total of 14 horses, all appearing to have been shot with a low-caliber rifle. Foals and pregnant mares were among the animals killed.

For officials with the Kentucky Humane Society, the case is a personal one: they've been rehabilitating a horse that comes from the very same herd.

'Willow' has been on the equine farm in Simpsonville since October, when she was taken in, starving. Officials can't believe someone would have hunted down horses like Willow.

"I was just sick to my stomach by the thought of what those horses had to go through," says Lori Recmon, President and CEO of the Kentucky Humane Society. "It looks like maybe they had been run and then dispersed and shot. They're herd animals, so to separate them and then shoot them is probably terrifying for them. Then, after I was sad and sickened, I just got angry."

Officials with the Humane Society say they want others who are outraged to continue chipping in and growing the reward to further encourage anyone who knows something to speak up.

The Floyd County sheriff has thanked the public for their support assisting in the investigation, and for providing the living horses in the area a good home. Investigators still ask anyone with information on the incident to contact them at (606) 886-6171.

Keep checking the WSAZ mobile app for the latest information.



Someone shot and killed at least 14 horses in Floyd County, Gray affiliate WYMT reported Tuesday.

It happened at a strip mine near the Pike and Floyd County line along U.S. 23. Among the horses shot some were only one year old or younger, while some were pregnant.

"Seeing them gunned down is ... it's beyond horrific," said Tonya Conn with Dumas Rescue. "These horses were scattered in various, various places, distances from each other so they had been shot, and they'd scattered then hunted and shot down."

Rescue groups at the site say it looks as if the horses were hunted. Law enforcement add it looks as if they were shot using a low-caliber rifle.

"This is very inhumane and it's a very cruel act of somebody who just apparently had nothing else to do or whatever just to go back on a strip job and shoot down horses who were, one of them obviously was feeding, had grass in its mouth," said Floyd County Sheriff John Hunt. "It looked like a battlefield for just horses. We counted 15 that we found dead."

At a minimum, the person involved could face animal cruelty charges.

"A very inhumane act, violent act, and somebody we want to bring to justice," Hunt added.

There is a $500 reward for information on this incident. If you have any information you can call the Sheriff's Office at 606-886-6171.