News and Press Releases

Pershing County Men Sentenced to Six Months in Prison for Wild Horse Killings

November 3, 2010

Reno, Nev. – Two Pershing County men were sentenced to six months in federal prison and one year of supervised release for their convictions for killing multiple wild horses in November 2009 on federally-managed lands in northern Nevada, announced Daniel G. Bogden, United States Attorney for the District of Nevada.

"The prosecution and sentences of these defendants demonstrates that we take the harassment and killing of wild horses on public lands in Nevada very seriously," said U.S. Attorney Bogden. "Because BLM and our state law enforcement partners carefully processed the crime scene and put up a $10,000 reward for the individuals who committed these senseless crimes, authorities were able to identify and apprehend the defendants, and we were able to successfully prosecute them seeking the maximum sentence permitted under federal law."

Todd Davis, 44, and Joshua Keathley, 36, both of Lovelock, Nevada, were sentenced by U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert A. McQuaid. The defendants pleaded guilty in June as charged to maliciously harassing, shooting and killing five wild, free-roaming horses on November 28, 2009, in the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Buckhorn Horse Management Area of Northern Washoe County, Nevada.

According to the court records, on or about November 28, 2009, Davis and Keathley drove to Northern Washoe County to look for locations to set traps. Davis, who was driving, stopped when he saw eight to 10 wild horses. Davis and Keathley exited the vehicle, and Keathley shot one light-colored horse with an AR-15 rifle and observed the horse fall to the ground. Keathley then handed the rifle to Davis, and Davis shot at the rest of the horses and saw approximately three horses fall. Davis and Keathley shot and killed a total of five wild, free-roaming horses. Prior to leaving the scene, Keathley picked up eight to 10 spent ammunition casings.

The defendants were permitted to self-report to federal prison by November 12, 2010.

The investigation was conducted by BLM's Office of Law Enforcement and Security California State Office in Redding, California, with the assistance of the Lovelock Police Department, the Washoe County Sheriff's Office, the Washoe County Forensic Services Division, the Nevada Department of Wildlife, and the California Department of Fish and Game. The Humane Society of the United States and the State of Nevada Commission for the Preservation of Wild Horses also contributed to the investigation.

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