PHOENIX -- Federal authorities are searching for suspects in the shootings of two wild burros near Lake Pleasant.
The Bureau of Land Management said a concerned citizen notified authorities Sunday about two mature burros found dead west of Castle Hot Springs Road. Authorities believe the burros were shot around 2 p.m. that day.
The animals were found dead within the government agency's Lake Pleasant Herd Management Area, which is located northwest of Phoenix in Maricopa County and southern Yavapai County. The area is actively managed for wild burros.
Wild burros and horses are protected by law under the Wild Free -- Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971. The Bureau of Land Management said perpetrators could be fined up to $2,000 or imprisoned for a year, or both.
"We are gathering evidence and are committed to the protection and management of wild burros and horses," the agency's Hassayampa Field Manager Rem Hawes said in a statement. "We take this criminal violation seriously. This is why we are asking for the public’s assistance."
Anyone with information is asked to contact federal authorities at 1-800-637-9152. All calls are confidential.