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Home / Keissel Road

Wild burro shot with arrow near Moreno Valley, mortally wounded

A wild burro wandering in a canyon north of Moreno Valley was shot with an arrow, causing an ultimately fatal injury and prompting an animal cruelty investigation, authorities said Wednesday.

The undomesticated donkey was spotted Saturday morning in the area of Keissel Road and Mercadante Lane, within Reche Canyon, according to the Riverside County Department of Animal Services.

Agency spokesman John Welsh said that someone shot an arrow into the jack’s left side torso, penetrating all the way through.

Animal control officers were dispatched, along with volunteers from the nonprofit DonkeyLand, who corralled the exhausted burro, loaded him onto a trailer and took him to SoCal Equine Hospital in Norco.

Veterinary staff treated the animal, but despite their efforts, the donkey died, according to Welsh.

“We’re certain that someone willfully shot this burro with the intent in killing it,” Department of Animal Services Commander Josh Sisler said in a statement. “The burro was struck in a very vulnerable area, and its force was so strong it punctured through to the opposite side of the burro. It’s shameless to maim an innocent animal and cause its demise. We’re hopeful we can find the person responsible for this heinous act.”

Officials said the nature of the wound would have made it impossible for the donkey to lay down and rest, exacerbating his condition. It was unknown how long the wounded animal lingered until someone noticed the injury.

“This is highly disturbing that someone would purposely harm a defenseless animal and cause its death,” Department of Animal Services Director Erin Gettis said. “If anyone has any helpful information, we urge them to contact us as we pursue felony animal cruelty charges.”

Sisler said the investigation is being handled by the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department, and the arrow was turned over as evidence, raising the prospect that fingerprint or other details might provide clues as to who is responsible.

Officials asked residents of Reche Canyon, as well as hikers and equine enthusiasts who ride through the area, to keep an eye out for suspicious activity and notify deputies, especially if archery equipment or firearms are seen.

In July 2018, a wild burro in Reche Canyon was shot in the head with an arrow that lodged behind the animal’s right ear. That donkey’s wound, however, was treated in time to prevent a deadly infection, and he recovered within a couple of weeks, after which he was released back into the canyon.

Herds of wild burros populate the Pigeon Pass and Reche Canyon areas between Moreno Valley and Colton. Riverside County Ordinance No. 934 makes it unlawful to feed, pet or otherwise draw the donkeys toward roadsides and other locations where they might be hurt — or wander into traffic and cause accidents.

Anyone with information about the burro attack was asked to contact the sheriff’s Moreno Valley station at 951-955-2400, or the Department of Animal Services at 951-358-7387, or via shelterinfo@rivco.org.

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