Reward money for information leading to the arrest of the person who shot and killed a Bennett Valley horse has grown to $6,250, according to the Animal Legal Defense Fund.
Delta Fox, a 17-year-old American Warmblood, was in a pasture with two other horses at about 8:30 a.m. Nov. 4 when he was shot in the side by a high-powered rifle, according to a Sonoma County sheriff's investigation.
The panicked animal raced the short distance back to its stable, collapsed and died.
The horse, which had been raised by his owner, lived on a small ranch in the hills above Bennett Valley, near Annadel State Park.
Detectives initially considered the shooter may have fired from the park, from quite a distance.
"At this present time we don't think it came from Annadel park," said sheriff's Sgt. Mike Raasch.
It now seems likely the shooter drove to the Bennett Ridge area, parked and walked down toward the pasture.
Scuffed hoof marks in the ground possibly showed where the horse was standing when shot, Raasch said. There was no blood found.
It's also possible the shooter was less than 100 yards from the animal, he said.
"It appeared the horse is just grazing in the field. There is no motive. It's just cruel," said Raasch.
A necropsy performed at UC Davis by veterinary specialists verified the shooting.
Hearing of the slaying, the Animal Legal Defense Fund, a nonprofit animal advocacy group, offered $5,000 for a reward. The Coastal California Friesian Club pledged $250 and an anonymous donor this week offered $1,000, said Megan Backus, with the animal advocacy group.
Tips passed on to the Animal Legal Defense Fund at 795-2533, ext. 1010, will be given to sheriff's detectives.
Raasch asked anyone with information to contact Detective Tony King at 565-2185.
You can reach Staff Writer Randi Rossmannat 521-5412 or randi. rossmann@ pressdemocrat.com.
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