A wild burro shot with an arrow near Moreno Valley was released back into his natural habitat Thursday, fully recovered from the wound that authorities believe was intentionally inflicted.
According to Riverside County Department of Animal Services spokesman John Welsh, animal control officers and volunteers from Riverside-based DonkeyLand turned the jack loose shortly after 10 a.m. in an open field in the 8300 block of Reche Canyon Road.
Video capturing the moment showed the healthy male trotting toward hillsides and disappearing from sight.
The animal had been under veterinary care for just over a week, initially at the SoCal Equine Hospital in Norco and later at the DonkeyLand ranch.
The undomesticated donkey was treated for an infected puncture wound below the right ear.
Welsh said the burro was shot sometime over the weekend of July 14-15, and a concerned resident posted images of the animal to social media, catching the attention of authorities.
Welsh described the attack on the burro as a “terrible act of cruelty.” He said the animal was first spotted in the Reche Canyon area, in the vicinity of the Black Stallion Ranch, north of Moreno Valley, where he was ultimately tranquilized and corralled.
The arrow was no longer protruding from the donkey when he was retrieved, according to Welsh.
DonkeyLand is offering a $4,500 reward for information that leads to the arrest and successful prosecution of whoever caused the injury.
Anyone with tips was asked to contact the Department of Animal Services at (951) 358-7387.
Herds of wild burros populate the Pigeon Pass and Reche Canyon areas between Moreno Valley and Colton. Riverside County Ordinance No. 934 makes it unlawful to feed, pet or otherwise draw the donkeys toward roadsides and other locations where they might be hurt — or wander into traffic and cause accidents.