I-Team: Wild horses found dead at Madeleine Pickens’ Sanctuary

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A reward of $100,000 is being offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the persons who caused the deaths of a dozen or more horses in Nevada.

The mustangs were on a private reserve in Elko County created to save wild horses from going to slaughter.

The owner of the property calls it an act of terrorism, and in light of what was done, it clearly was no accident. The images are graphic.

The dead horses were discovered over the weekend on a 12,000 acre parcel, part of a much larger ranch owned by philanthropist Madeleine Pickens south of Wells, Nevada. One of the dead animals was a Pickens favorite, a small brown mare she named Scarlet. In one of the images, Pickens is kneeling with Scarlet’s carcass. Also dead, at least 11 other mustangs that had previously been saved from the slaughterhouse by Pickens. Dozens of other horses are missing.

Sometime in the last week or so, unknown persons vandalized several gates on the large enclosed preserve. Fences were cut, and worst of all, all of the water pumps were disabled, meaning the mustangs had no water for days. Most died of thirst in the summer heat. The I-Team spoke to Mrs. Pickens by phone Wednesday afternoon.

“No question, this was not an accident. This wasn’t just one well that went dry or something in the solar panel didn’t work. Everything was shut off, cut off, fences were cut and rolled back. They wanted all the horses to escape. They shut off the water holes so they couldn’t drink,” Pickens said.

Pickens has spent $25 million to create her Mustang Monument sanctuary and eco-resort which is home to 700 rescued mustangs, but the plan has faced continuous opposition from the Bureau of Land Management and Elko officials sympathetic to cattle ranchers, as well as wild horse advocates.

There have also been many previous acts of vandalism, but nothing like this.

There will be more on this story tonight at 11.

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