The U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has confirmed that a fourth horse has been found shot dead in eastern Nevada.

According to regional news website the Las Vegas SUN, the body of a 15-year-old mare was discovered by a Nevada Division of Forestry honor camp crewmember on 16 April. The unnamed crewmember was part of a group searching for space shuttle debris near Panaca, 165 miles northeast of Las Vegas.

North America has recently suffered a spate of horse shootings. In January this year, HHO reported on a serial sniper targeting horses in Edmonton, Canada and since March 2001 a total of 18 wild horses have been found shot dead in the state of Nevada.

Jared Redington, a BLM wild horse specialist, says: “It was an extremely cruel act.” He estimated that the mare lay injured by the side of the road for around three days before she died of her injuries.

The 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act protects wild horses and burros (small donkey) on public lands. Killing a wild horse or burro can result in a fine of up to $2,000 and, or a one year jail term.

A $15,000 reward has been offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible.

Bill Wagers, the BLM’s District Ranger, told the Las Vegas SUN: “Frankly we’re hoping that someone who knows something will step forward.”