SAN JOAQUIN COUNTY — Over the past several months, at least five dead — in some cases mutilated — horses have been discovered dumped throughout the San Joaquin valley.
SJ County Sheriff’s Department’s rural crimes unit is working to unravel the mystery behind the chain of bizarre deaths, which began in November and has since spread through the eastern region of the county near Lodi, Clements, and lately, Stockton.
Deputies believe a person or persons are to blame, rather than predators — the horses have been offloaded onto rural roads with signs that measures were taken to avoid leaving clues.
This past January, one horse was found on a stretch of private property near Atkins Road outside of Lodi, its legs hogtied to a fence and its lips removed (possibly cut out) to do away with markings that could ID its owner.
While it is unclear whether each death is connected, deputies want to stress that dumping livestock carcasses is a misdemeanor and urge proper disposal. There are local companies that offer this service.
Motive also remains unknown, though some neighbors speculate that those responsible may be trying to avoid disposal fees.
CBS Sacramento: Mutilated Horse Carcasses Dumped Throughout San Joaquin Valley
CBS Sacramento initial report: Carcass Of Mutilated Horse Found Near Lockeford In San Joaquin County