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PRESTONSBURG, Ky. (AP) — A third horse has been rescued from a strip mine site in Kentucky where 20 horses were found fatally shot.
The filly was captured by Dumas Rescue on Saturday and taken to the Kentucky Humane Society, news outlets reported.
The horse is believed to be the daughter of the pregnant mare and sister to the colt who was rescued in late December.
In a six-day span, 20 horses were found dead along U.S. 23 near the Floyd-Pike County line in the eastern part of the state. Tonya Conn with Dumas Rescue has said that the dead horses were scattered over a large area and it appears they had been hunted.
“This is very inhumane and it's a very cruel act of somebody who just apparently had nothing else to do or whatever just to go back on a strip job and shoot down horses,” Floyd County Sheriff John Hunt previously said. “It looked like a battlefield for just horses.”
Authorities said some of the horses were young and some were pregnant.
Kentucky Humane Society President Lori Redmon said there are three additional surviving horses near the strip mine. Dumas Rescue was also going to capture them on Saturday but the horses were spooked when someone shot an automatic rifle in the distance, Redmon said.
"They don't appear to have any injuries, so we don't really know how they escaped that. For someone to have shot 20 horses, it wasn't just a quick, random situation," Redmon said. “This was intended malice to a large extent. So for them to continue to keep shooting until 20 horses were dead just feels like it's pure evil.”
There is now a $23,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of anyone responsible for shooting the horses.
Prestonburg is about 115 miles (185 kilometers) east of Lexington in an Appalachian area near the state lines of Virginia and West Virginia.