Reward being offered after man’s 2 horses shot in the head in rural Bates County

AMORET, Mo. – After two horses were shot in a Bates County town, the Humane Society of Missouri has opened an investigation.

The animal protection organization is offering a $2,500 reward for the arrest and conviction of the person who shot horses Rusty and Brownie in the head on Christmas Eve. The horses' owner Terry Wisdom and friends collected $500, and Max Muller -- owner of Max Motors car dealership in Butler -- chipped in an additional $2,500. That brings the total reward money to $5,500.

The horses were found dead on a property on N.W. County Road 12001, about 14 miles west of Butler, Missouri, in Bates County.

Terry Wisdom owned both horses and said they were being boarded on his friend’s property because it was the only place he could keep them.

“Kirby Johnson let me board them there because I was working for him,” Wisdom said.

Wisdom said he raised Rusty, who was 30 years old, since he was just a colt. He said he also had Brownie, who was 9, for most of his life.

“Rusty was a saddle horse,” said Wisdom. “You could bareback ride him, but Brownie, he would do everything. You could ride him bareback. You could saddle ride him. He’d pull a cart.”

Wisdom said Johnson’s son broke the news to him. Rusty was shot between the eyes, and Brownie was shot from the back of the head, according to Wisdom. They were inside a fenced area.

“Somebody was doing something illegal,” Wisdom said. “I think Rusty was shot from out on the road. The gate was open, and I think someone drove in here and shot my other horse and drove out.”

Wisdom said veterinarians in nearby Butler recently extracted bullet fragments from the horses.

“It was a hollow point. We do know that by the fragments that we got," Wisdom said.

The horses are still on the property. Wisdom said they’re waiting for the ground to thaw so they can bury them.

“We’ve got a guy in town that has a backhoe that’s going to dig it up, and we’re going to make a grave for them,” he said.

Wisdom said he will miss spending time with his horses and taking them into town for children to ride.

“Every kid in town would get a ride on them,” Wisdom said. “They could crawl underneath them, walk behind, just whatever. They were really good horses.”

He said he can’t understand why someone would kill harmless animals.

“These were like my kids,” said Wisdom. “I just want to know someone would do this. It’s senseless. If you have a grudge against a person, take it out on them not their animal.”

If you know anything, call the HSMO Animal Cruelty Hotline at 1-800-383-9835.