Investigation: Canines killed miniature donkeys near Mize
In a case that captured the attention of tens of thousands of people on social media, an investigation has determined that five miniature donkeys that died in a pasture near Mize were killed by dogs, not gunfire.
That was the determination made by Investigator Jamie Taylor of the Mississippi Agricultural and Livestock Theft Bureau, the law enforcement division of the Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce.
For several weeks, the story was shared on Facebook, with people commenting and assuming that the animals were shot. A GoFundMe page was started to raise almost $7,000 in reward money for information leading to the arrest of the person or people who shot the donkeys.
“They were just sweet little pets,” Callie West Evans said in an interview that aired on WDAM, as well as on affiliate stations on the Gulf Coast and in Jackson. The media reports state that “all of the animals suffered gunshot wounds to the stomach” and that the owners “believe the gunfire came from the roadway.” Sheriff Charlie Crumpton also called the deaths “cruel and senseless” in the TV report.
The miniature donkeys lived on the family farm, which is on Smith County Road 60. West Evans said that she and her husband Wes were shaken by the deaths of their children’s pets.
The first one, a 6-year-old donkey named Mary Bell, “was shot three times — once in the face and twice in the stomach,” according to the TV report. Three more dead donkeys were discovered on the morning of June 1, one of which was only 6 weeks old.
The owner described the deaths as “sadistic,” and she asked, “Why keep coming back and why us and the donkeys?”
The investigation began on May 20, when Taylor received a call from the Smith County Sheriff’s Office about a miniature donkey that had been killed on a farm. The owners reported that the donkey had been shot. By June 1, three additional miniature donkeys had been killed. The investigation, including numerous interviews, resumed until evidence was gathered.
On the night of July 3, surveillance equipment recorded three dogs attacking and killing a fifth miniature donkey. Experts then determined the death of all five donkeys was not the result of gunshots, but rather from attacks by dogs.
“While this was an unfortunate incident, I am glad to know that the case has been solved, and I commend the efforts of Investigator Taylor and the Smith County Sheriff’s Office,” said Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce Andy Gipson.
MALTB Director Dean Barnard praised Taylor and local law enforcement officials for their dedication to this case.
The Mississippi Agricultural and Livestock Theft Bureau enforces state laws pertaining to the theft of cattle, horses, swine, poultry, fish, farm equipment, chemicals, timber and all other farm or agriculture-related crimes.
To report or provide information regarding an agricultural crime, call 1-800-678-2660.