BLM, private groups increase reward for information in California Burro Killings
NEEDLES, Calif. – The Bureau of Land Management is offering up to $10,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for the deaths of more than 40 wild burros from the Clark Mountain Herd Area, managed by the Needles Field Office, San Bernardino County. This week, the American Wild Horse Campaign, Return to Freedom and The Cloud Foundation organizations joined the BLM with plans to offer rewards of $2,500, $5,000 and $1,000 respectively. This joint effort equates to a total reward of $18,500.
Since May, a total of 42 wild burro carcasses with gunshot wounds have been found along the Interstate 15 corridor between Halloran Springs, California, and Primm, Nevada, in various states of decomposition. Bureau of Land Management law enforcement is leading the investigation into the illegal killings, in coordination with the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department, California Highway Patrol, and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.
“Wild horses and burros are an iconic part of the American West, and part of our national heritage. We will pursue every lead until we’ve arrested and prosecuted those responsible for these cruel, savage deaths, and we welcome the public’s help to bring the perpetrator or perpetrators to justice,” said William Perry Pendley, the BLM’s Deputy Director for Policy and Programs. “We want to thank our law enforcement for their assistance and support of this investigation and we are grateful for the willingness of the American Wild Horse Campaign, Return to Freedom and The Cloud Foundation to step up and offer their own rewards to help solve this heinous crime.”
“The persons who shot these innocent and beloved burros deserves to be brought to justice,” said Suzanne Roy, Executive Director of the American Wild Horse Campaign. “We hope that an increase in the reward will lead to arrest and conviction for these cruel acts.”
"America’s public lands belong to all of us. These cruel and hostile acts against federally protected animals strike at the heart of everyone working so hard for their protection and for humane, non-lethal solutions to management concerns,” said Neda DeMayo, president of Return to Freedom Wild Horse Conservation. "It’s our plan to raise this reward in hopes that someone will step forward with information that will help law enforcement end these senseless killings.”
"We’re very glad the BLM is taking this sick crime seriously. The burros belong to the American people and are beloved symbols of our nation’s history and pioneer spirit. They deserve to be protected,” said Ginger Kathrens, Director of The Cloud Foundation.
Anyone with information about this investigation is asked to call the WeTip hotline at 800-78CRIME (800-782-7463) or visit http://www.wetip.com. Callers may remain anonymous and be eligible for a reward for information leading to the arrest(s) and conviction(s) of any person or persons responsible for the deaths of these protected animals. More information on the rewards offered by American Wild Horse Campaign, Return to Freedom and The Cloud Foundation can be found on the organizations’ websites.
The animals are federally protected under the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971. The Act protects wild, free-roaming horses and burros from capture, branding, harassment, or death; and considers them an integral part of the natural system of public lands managed by the BLM. Anyone arrested and found guilty of willfully violating a regulation issued pursuant to this Act, shall be subject to a fine of not more than $2,000, or imprisonment for not more than one year, or both. These penalties can apply to each count charged.
This year, we invite everyone to reimagine your public lands as we celebrate 75 years of the BLM’s stewardship and service to the American people. The BLM manages approximately 245 million acres of public land located primarily in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The agency’s mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations.