SMITH COUNTY, Miss. (WLBT) - Authorities are trying to solve the mystery behind the deadly shootings of donkeys in Smith County.
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Four of the miniature breed animals were killed in two separate incidents in less than two weeks.
Buzzards flying above the pasture on Smith County Road 60 led to the discovery of the miniature pet donkeys, that are believed to have been shot and killed late at night.
The owners believe the gunfire came from the roadway.
"We're definitely concerned because if they can do that, what can they do next," asked Callie West Evans.
She and her husband Wes, who live near Mize, are shaken by the deaths of their children’s pets.
The first donkey, six-year-old Mary Bell, was shot three times -- once in the face and twice in the stomach. Her body was found May 20.
Three other miniatures, including a six-week-old, were killed afterward and discovered the morning of June 1.
All of the animals suffered gunshot wounds to the stomach.
The Evans can’t think of any enemies or anyone with a reason to target their pets.
“That’s what makes it really scary and kind of sadistic,” said West Evans. “It’s just, why keep coming back and why us and why the donkeys? They don’t make any noise. They’re not keeping our neighbors up at night. They were just sweet little pets."
Her family’s seven-year-old donkey was found in a pool of blood inside a barn, where blood also splattered a wall.
Another one was found in a field, one was near a pond and the six-week-old was under the shade of a bush where it collapsed.
“Here are remnants of some blood right here, and from the trail, it looked like she had come down this little hill trying to get away,” said West Evans, pointing to a dried pool of blood under the Muscadine bush.
Smith County Sheriff Charlie Crumpton is investigating the case he calls cruel and senseless. An agriculture investigator is also assisting the department. No shell casings were found, and so far there are no leads. The Sheriff is asking for the public’s assistance.
If you can help investigators call the Smith County Sheriff’s Department at 601-782-4531.
As of Thursday, a Gofundme page had raised a $7,000 reward for information leading to an arrest.