Prize horse shot to death near Livermore

October 22, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
A reward is being offered for whoever shot and killed two horses on private property near Livermore Tuesday night. One was a beautiful show horse ridden during the Rose Bowl Parade. Another was a rescued horse.

"If this was a joyride, it wasn't a very funny one," said the horses' owner Marianne Rountree. Rountree, saddened and angered by the incident, said someone drove by her Collier Canyon Ranch and shot and killed two of her horses, including a prized show horse named "Choctaw."

"This morning when we woke up we found we had a dead horse right in front of us. We went to investigate and figured out we had two. And it appeared that they had been shot from the road," said Rountree.

The 15-year-old black and white Paint horse "Choctaw" had ridden lead position in two Rose Bowl Parades in Pasadena, and countless other local events. The horse's estimated value was about $15,000. His show saddles remain on display in the Rountree's living room.

"He was a horse that was a beautiful parade horse that was used not only for that, but he also took children for rides," said Rountree.

Choctaw died from a single gunshot wound to the heart. The other horse killed, a brown and white Paint horse named "Lucky," was shot twice in the belly. He had been rescued from a local animal shelter. The weapon appears to have been a .22 caliber rifle.

Both horses were transported to U.C. Davis so the bullets could be removed as evidence.

The Rountree family is so upset about what happened they've put up $5,000 of their own money as a reward for information leading to the arrest of those responsible.

"What you've done is hurt a family very deeply. The extended family, the ranchers here in the area... devastated. You haven't just shot an animal you've shot a member of our family," said Greg Rountree.

Two other horses standing in the same field were unharmed in the shooting. They will be moved to a safe location overnight Wednesday.

Anyone with information about the shootings is urged to call the Contra Costa Sheriff's Office at (925) 646-2441.


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