11 Burros found shot to death; $5,000 reward offered for info

Posted: Updated:
Hefty reward for merciless killings

PHOENIX - A number of wild burros were found shot to death Monday near Lake Pleasant.

Nothing like this has ever happened to any of the protected herds in Arizona, according to Bureau of Land Management officials. They call it unthinkable and are hoping someone comes forward with information.

A senseless massacre took place near scenic Lake Pleasant after 11 wild burros had been shot dead. The carcasses were found spread over several acres of public land.

Pamela Mathis, with the Bureau of Land Management, admits, "It's despicable."

BLM ranges say the burros were shot sometime last week and range in age from adult to newborn. Mathis explains, "Literally newborns. Some were recently born and some were right in the process. There was no mercy."

Randy Helm, who owns burros, tells 3TV, "When you're talking about babies it raises the level. It's more unthinkable." Helm is one of many around the Valley who have adopted wild burros.

Traveler helps out in parades and nativity scenes around Christmas and Helm tells 3TV he, "loves people."

Burros are docile and curious, whether in pens or out the wild where they are protected animals on federal lands.

Chuck Russo, an outdoorsman admits, "I was absolutely horrified. I've looked at those burros since I was a little boy." The slaughter prompted Russo to organize a number of outdoor clubs and to donate reward money in hopes of finding the people who gunned down the burros. He tells 3TV, "They're almost tame. They've been around so long and know all the people who drive by and stuff like that."

That is what made the wild burros easy targets. Now rangers and outdoorsmen have a target of their own as they try to catch the killers. The reward for information about the slaughter is at least $5,000. If found and convicted, the people who did this face fines and prison time.

People who have any information may call:1-800-637-9152.