The grim discovery of seven dead horses near Mutch Creek has an innocent explanation, the Benewah County Sheriff’s Office said.

According to Sheriff Dave Resser, the animals were not killed and disposed of by careless owners, but euthanized and placed in the area by a nonprofit organization for legitimate purposes.

On Nov. 13, two hunters were traveling on the Mutch Creek Road when they found a number of horse carcasses. Preston Boyd and Josh McHenry called the sheriff’s office, who brought in a state veterinarian to investigate the area to determine if any crime took place.

According to the sheriff, they concluded no foul play in the event, but found that “fowl” had played a part.

“We have investigated the dead horses found up Mutch Creek, and have found that the horses were given to Birds of Prey, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping injured and orphaned raptors recover, adjust to our modern environment, and enjoy healthy, productive, free lives,” Sheriff Resser said in a press release.

The sheriff said that the horses were donated to the organization, and were humanely put down, butchered and placed together in the Mutch Creek area. The intent was to provide a food source for wild birds and other areas in the area. Birds of Prey Northwest frequently takes in donations of dead animal carcasses, including roadkill, to feed birds in their program.

“Our investigation is closed at this time, due to no criminal acts having taken place,” Sheriff Resser said.

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