Five horses shot, killed at Fort Polk
Fort Polk officials have opened an investigation into the killing of a small group of horses that were found shot to death on the military installation over the weekend.
Fort Polk spokesperson Kim Reischling confirmed Monday to the American Press that officials would be looking into the deaths of five horses found dead near the Peason Ridge area of north Fort Polk on Saturday evening.
The news of the killings was first made public by equine group Fort Polk Horses of Kisatchie, who said the horses displayed wounds indicative of being shot by a high-powered rifle.
The Peason Ridge area has often been used by military members for live fire training exercises and has been a spot used by local hunters, but the equine group insists the animal deaths appeared intentional.
“This was a deliberate act, as it appears a whole herd family was massacred,” a social media post by the group states.
According to photographs taken from the scene, one horse appears to show gun shot wounds to the face, while the others show gunshot wounds to their sides.
On Sunday, a reward of $2,500 was being offered for information leading to the arrest of the person or persons responsible for the killings.
The horse population on the military post has been a tense subject of debate in recent years after Fort Polk officials made the decision to begin removing the horses in 2015 when the population reached in excess of 700.
According to Fort Polk officials, the horses have been declared “trespass horses” because they fail to meet the standards to be considered wild. Most, officials said in 2015, appear to have at one time been domesticated and were either lost or abandoned by their owners and never recovered.
Fort Polk officials said the horses posed a risk to themselves and the soldiers training by congregating in the open, grassy areas used as drop zones. There have also been a number of car accidents over the years caused from horses crossing or standing in roadways on the installation.
In 2016, the officials began coordinating the first of many round-ups that allowed for animal rights groups or private buyers to take the horses from the military property.
Fort Polk Horses of Kisatchie said that Saturday’s events should not be viewed as another reason to remove the horses, and should be viewed as criminal behavior.
“Criminal actions such as these should be taken seriously, investigated, and perpetrators be held accountable,” the group stated.
“Local and federal authorities in the area should make it clear that killing horses is not allowed.”