14 Horses Found Shot to Death at Abandoned Coal Mining Site in Kentucky

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Reported today on The New York Times

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14 Horses Found Shot to Death at Abandoned Coal Mining Site in KentuckyThe Floyd County sheriff said that several of the horses were pregnant, and that the killing was probably premeditated.The crime scene - deep in Appalachia's coal country - is so desolate that the only way in or out is by all-terrain vehicle. There are no paved roads to speak of.It was there, on a decommissioned strip mine site in Floyd County in Eastern Kentucky, that the local sheriff and the head of an animal welfare group said this week that they made a grisly discovery in this state known for its champion thoroughbreds: 14 horses had been shot to death.Some of the horses had gunshot wounds to the head and others to the heart and lung areas, according to the authorities, who said a few of the horses were pregnant. Several of them belonged to a nearby resident, who on Monday reported that they had been killed, said the Floyd County sheriff, John P. Hunt, who did not name the owner. The others were free-roaming or feral horses.The mass killing has drawn national attention, which investigators said they hoped would help lead to an arrest. They said they had several leads, with animal welfare groups contributing thousands of dollars for a reward."I'm 30-plus years in law enforcement and I've never seen nothing like this," Sheriff Hunt said on Friday. "It's heartbreaking to everybody. We pride ourselves on horses in Kentucky."Tonya Conn, the president of Dumas Rescue, an animal welfare group based in Floyd County, visited the scene on Tuesday and Wednesday with a veterinarian, who did a necropsy on the horses."I'll tell you what it looks like, a Civil War battlefield," Ms. Conn said. "You know how there's things that you say you'll never unsee? You can never unsee this."Sheriff Hunt said the horses


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