At least 15 free-roaming horses were apparently shot and killed at an abandoned strip mining location in eastern Kentucky this week, authorities said. Among them were very young and pregnant horses.
"Seeing them gunned down is ... it's beyond horrific," Tonya Conn, president of the local group Dumas Rescue, told CBS affiliate WYMT . "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."
The rescue group said the horses — which were found scattered near the border of Floyd and Pike counties — were likely hunted. Law enforcement officials said the horses appear to have been shot using a small-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."
The reward for information regarding the incident started at $500 but has been raised to more than $2,000 following donations from people nationwide who want the person or persons responsible convicted.
"Please be patient with us as we work to figure out the best way to handle this legally," Dumas Rescue wrote on Facebook . "We are thankful for your support. At this time we are all reeling from the effects this horrendous scene has had on our group and the investigating officers. Please keep us in your prayers."