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People want justice for Rico, a free-range horse shot in Park County

A small herd of horses has been living in the wild for years in the mountains near Hartsel.

HARTSEL, Colo. — The Park County Sheriff is investigating after a horse that was living in the wild was shot and killed outside Hartsel last week.

On Oct. 10, someone shot one of the stallions in the small herd and left him for dead at Agate Creek, according to Angel Caudle, who lives near the herd. She said the horse, who is named Rico, was shot in the abdomen.

"I can't believe that someone would harm Rico," Caudle said. "This was just a ruthless act by a human who has no regard for these horses or any of the free range animals." 

Laura Horvath is with Far View Horse Rescue and Rehabilitation. She got the call and tried to save Rico that day, but she said the gunshot wound was too much.

"It had been suffering for sure and pretty devastating," Horvath said.

Now, she she said she's trying to save the others. The small herd has 14 animals left, and most of them are at the rescue.

"It's just sad that we had to round the rest of the herd up for their safety because of this incident," Horvath said. "My wish would be for them to just stay out there and continue to do what they're doing."

Horvath said most of the herd will now remain captive.

Credit: KUSA

"It's not safe," she said. "Someone is shooting them. Someone is threatening to shoot them."

Caudle said one of the reasons she moved to the mountains was because the herd would come and visit her every day.

She is now fostering three of the horses with hopes to re-release them into the wild once it is safe.

"It's just devastated me to the point of, I mean, I'm doing whatever I can to keep the others free," she said. "I'm just hopeful that they bring this person to justice for Rico." 

The Park County Sheriff did not return a request for comment.

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