A major investigation is underway after 35 horses were found shot dead in “horrific” scenes on a property in western Queensland.

Key points:

  • About 35 dead horses were discovered at Yanburra station, north of Longreach
  • Police say they were shot multiple times
  • The property owner was away 

Readers are advised this story has distressing content.

The animals, discovered on Yanburra station about 60km north of Longreach, included pregnant mares and foals.

Police said they expected to find more carcasses on the 2,000-hectare property today.

Detective Sergeant Allan Cook said the horses died from multiple gunshot wounds in a brazen shooting along the side of a major road. 

A paddock. In the distance you can vaguely see the bodies of horses lying on the ground.

About 35 horses were discovered dead at Yanburra station.(

Supplied: Queensland Police Service

)

“Absolutely horrendous,” Detective Sergeant Cook said.

“It’s tourist season at the moment, anyone driving past that road would have seen those carcasses, so absolutely horrendous.

“You’ve got stallions, colts, pregnant mares, aborted foals, they’ve shot the foals at the foot, it’s horrific.”

A neighbour raised the alarm about 4:00pm on Thursday when she discovered the horses on Yanburra. 

They were believed to have been killed between Tuesday and Wednesday.

The owner of the property was not home at the time of the incident. 

The Longreach Stock and Rural Crime Investigation Squad returned to the scene on Friday morning.

A number of horses lay dead in a paddock with police investigators in the background.

The Longreach Major and Organised Crime Squad – Rural is investigating the shooting death of more than 35 horses at a property near Longreach.(

Supplied: QPS Media

)

RSPCA Queensland spokesman Michael Beatty, who has worked with the animal welfare organisation for 17 years, said it was very uncommon for such a high number of horses to be executed. 

“In fact, in all of the time I’ve been with the RSPCA I don’t think I’ve ever heard numbers of this proportion,” Mr Beatty said. 

“Obviously you do have situations where there is a cull where large numbers of animals are put down, but not on a private property where you are not talking about feral brumbies.

“I’ve never heard of anything like [this].”

Detective Sergeant Cook said incidents of this nature can have a devastating impact on rural communities.

“That is why the Queensland Police Service is working extremely closely with partner agencies to identify the person or people responsible,” he said. 

The joint investigation involves forensic officers, the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries and council rangers. The RSPCA does not have an inspector in the region. 

Police are urging anybody with information to contact them at the Longreach Police Station — 07 4652 5200.

“Anyone who saw any suspicious activity on the Cramsie Muttaburra Rd at Longreach, please call us,” Detective Sergeant Cook said. 

Posted , updated 

‘Absolutely horrendous’: Dozens of horses found shot on outback Queensland property
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