Residents and authorities in Big River are trying to find the person or people responsible for shooting a burro they nicknamed Wyatt Earp. The burro was found April 12 in a backyard in Big River with multiple gunshot wounds. He died a week later at the Oatman Burro Rescue in Oatman, Ariz.
Big River resident Darlene Haag told the Pioneer a neighbor called her Easter Sunday, April 12, to report a burro in her back yard. She said the burro looked like it was badly hurt. Haag said she and other began taking care of the burro, whom they named Wyatt Earp after the Western lawman who spent much of his later years in the area where Big River is located.
Haag said it was almost certain the burro wasn’t shot in the backyard. She said it was likely he came to the humans looking for help.
“We don’t know where he was shot,” she said.
Haag said they called the Bureau of Land Management, who told them there was nothing they could do. They contacted Oatman Burro Rescue and they sent a veterinarian to look at the burro on Thursday, April 16. He was transported to Oatman the next day, and he died April 19 in Oatman.
A report was filed with the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department April 16.
San Bernardino County Sheriff’s spokesperson Cindy Bachman said it appeared the burro was shot with a shotgun as many steel pellets had been removed from his wounds. She said they have no information on a suspect.
Haag said she has had plenty of support from the community over the Wyatt Earp the burro.
“The community has been great,” she said. “Everyone wants to help.”
A Facebook page, “Justice for Wyatt Earp, the Big River Burro,” has been established. A post on that page states federal and state investigations are underway, and reminds everyone to be patient as these things take time.
This is the second time in five months that a burro has been reported shot in Big River. The first occurred shortly before 11 p.m. on Dec. 27. Witnesses told the Pioneer the burro was in the backyard of a home on Del Rey when it was chased by people in a vehicle down a hill behind the home. The burro was shot several times from the vehicle.
The burro was found the next morning. Bullet cases were recovered from the scene.
Anyone with information on these incidents is urged to call the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Office at 760-956-5001.