GRAPHIC: Rescue works to get surviving horses off strip job shooting site

Published: Dec. 23, 2019 at 8:28 PM EST
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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.

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.