National Park Service officials are offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of whoever is responsible for the shooting death of a wild horse at the Assateague Island National Seashore earlier this month.
Two herds of wild horses reside on Assateague Island, and each herd occupies a home range. One herd, known as the Chincoteague ponies, resides on the island's Virginia side. The other herd resides on the Maryland side. The herds are separated by a fence at the Virginia/Maryland state line, and the National Park Service manages the Maryland herd.
In a written statement Assateague Island National State Park Superintendent Trish Kicklighter said that on Jan. 15, a hunter discovered the animal's carcass while participating in a scheduled two-day deer hunt on the Maryland side of the island, and reported the finding to park rangers the following day. The hunt was part of the National Seashore's annual hunting program. The program is used to manage the park's resident deer population.
According to the statement, the 28-year-old bay mare had sustained a gunshot wound. From the nature of the wound, it appears that the horse died almost immediately, the statement said.
Assateague Island National Seashore spokesman Carl Zimmerman said an investigation into the incident was underway, but declined to disclose further details. If caught, those responsible for the shooting could face charges, Zimmerman said. The nature of the charges depends upon the investigation's outcome, he said.
Anyone with information about the incident should call 410/629-6055, or e-mail Chief Ranger Ted Morlock at firstname.lastname@example.org. All calls and e-mails are confidential.
Disclaimer: Seek the advice of a qualified veterinarian before proceeding with any diagnosis, treatment, or therapy.