Gov. Ducey Signs bill protecting Salt River wild horses

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Salt River horses (Source: KPHO/KTVK) Salt River horses (Source: KPHO/KTVK)
(Source: American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign) (Source: American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign)
(Source: Gov. Doug Ducey) (Source: Gov. Doug Ducey)
PHOENIX (AP) -

The herd of wild horses living near Arizona's Salt River will have new protections under legislation signed by Gov. Doug Ducey.

The proposal by Republican Rep. Kelly Townsend of Mesa makes it illegal to harass, shoot, kill or slaughter a horse that is part of the Salt River herd. The protections are conditional upon an agreement between the Department of Agriculture and the United States Forest Service.

[READ MORE: Senate passes bill to protect Salt River wild horses]

About 100 horses are in the herd that has historically lived around the lower Salt River and Saguaro Lake east of Phoenix.

The proposal was developed after the U.S. Forest Service planned to remove the horses. The Forest Service reversed its decision following pressure from the public.

Ducey signed the legislation Wednesday.

He released the following statement:

 “The Salt River Horses are beautiful, majestic and a treasure to our state. Since last summer, we have worked to protect them and their ability to roam free,” said Governor Doug Ducey.  “Many Arizonans were rightly outraged when the future of the Salt River Horse was put at risk, and I was clear then that I would do everything in my power to protect them from danger. Today, I am proud to sign a bill that paves the way state, local and federal forces to work together to keep them free from interference or harassment. I am grateful to  Rep. Kelly Townsend for her leadership and committment to protecting the Salt River Horses.” 

[PHOTOS: Salt River wild horses]

Copyright 2016 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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