The Tsilhqot’in National Government is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person(s) responsible for the death of five wild horses.
As reported earlier by the Tribune this week, the wild horses were found deceased at the 25 kilometre mark on the road between Yunesit’in and Xeni Gwet’in.
“The Tsilhqot’in view horses as unique to our culture and have been part of the ecosystem for more than 200 years,” Yunesit’in Chief Russell Myers said. “There is an intrinsic value that we have with the wild horses in the Tsilhqot’in territory. Many community members have expressed anger, disbelief, and betrayal over those that have caused harm to the horses. There has been a pattern of indifference for the wild horses in the past. Yet, for us, it is not normal and will not be tolerated.”
Because the horses were found within a small area it appears someone intentionally killed them, the TNG stated in a press release, noting intentionally harming or killing a horse is illegal under section 444 of the Criminal Code and carries a maximum penalty of up to five years in jail.
The Alexis Creek RCMP detachment has been asked to conduct a thorough investigation to identify anyone responsible and hold them accountable, the TNG said.
Xeni Gwet’in Chief Roger William, vice-chair or the TNG, said the horses were roaming in South Chilcotin ranges.
“The Tsilhqot’in Nation has proven Aboriginal title and rights in this area, including the right to capture and use wild horses,” William said. “Intentionally harming horses is an outrage and a violation of our Aboriginal rights and values.”