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Horse killed in rural Tooele County; State officials report increase in deadly livestock shootings

Posted at 6:00 PM, Jul 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-24 20:00:13-04

TOOELE COUNTY, Utah — “A horse is a beautiful animal. They’re your friend.”

Larry Fitzgerald and his family are trying to get answers regarding the shooting and killing of "Bob," a horse owned by the Fitzgeralds in Lofgreen, Utah for 14 years.

“Some animals have better personalities than people, and to lose something like that, it’s difficult,” said Fitzgerald on Friday.

Bob was found dead on private property over the weekend in the Lofgreen area in Tooele County, east of Vernon Reservoir on the north side of Sabie Mountain.

“One shot was in the chest, in the neck and chest cavity. The coyotes and the birds had gotten to him, kind of chewed him up a little bit. He was shot in the head also,” said Fitzgerald as he choked up recalling the sight. “Actually, I hope he was shot in the head because that would be a quicker death.”

“What’s concerning about it is I’m not quite sure what the motive is. We’ve had quite a few livestock shootings in recent months,” said Utah Department of Agriculture and Food’s animal industry director Leann Hunting, a seventh-generation farmer and rancher. “I’m starting to think that maybe these shootings are targeted, and I’m not quite sure what would lead a person to have that motive to take out livestock.”

Hunting noted the increase in livestock shootings in central Utah over the last few months.

“There has been an increase this summer, starting with the livestock shooting in Nephi with the bulls that were located in the feed lot, followed by some horses that were shot in Millard County and a stud horse in a feed lot, and now we’ve got a fourth incident,” said Hunting. “This is really unusual. It’s very unheard of to have so many crimes like that within such a short amount of time.”

Bob was shot twice, according to a Utah Department of Natural Resources worker who helped the Fitzgeralds learn more about the death.

Central Utah Livestock Association is offering $20,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the people involved in this incident.

If you have any information, contact Leann Hunting (UDAF) – 385-290-2383, Randy (Central Utah Livestock Association) – 801-592-5713 or Russell (CULA) – 801-420-0296.