Dead Horses Found at Shelby Farms

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By Chris Fulton, Journalist for The Institute for Public Service Reporting

On December 1, 2020, Robert Colbert and members of his bike club discovered the bodies of approximately six to ten horses and eight to ten deer in a field behind the old landfill off Walnut Grove Road by Shelby Farms, Memphis, Tennessee. Many of the animals were decapitated and there were signs that an unknown individual or persons had attempted to burn the bodies and cover them in lime. These corpses were in various stages of decomposition and the bikers who discovered the bodies stated that the smell of rotten flesh had been in the area since late September. Colbert and his group decided to investigate the smell after it became overwhelming. While Shelby County sent out workers to clean up the area and properly dispose of the bodies, no reports were ever filed with the Shelby County Sheriff's Department or with Shelby County’s Game Warden.

The Institute for Public Service Reporting is reaching out to the public for help in identifying who may have owned these horses so that we can track down the individuals who illegally disposed of the bodies. If you recognize one of the horses in the photos or know of any missing horses within the Shelby County area, please reach out to Chris Fulton at

Mr. Fulton contacted the Mid-South Horse Review in January, asking our help in tracking down the owners of these horses by making this information public. If you have any information about these horses, please contact us or Chris Fulton at the Institute for Public Service Reporting at the University of Memphis.

This story previously ran on WREG Channel 3 Memphis in December, but authorities are still having difficulty finding the owners and perpetrators.


Find more information about the Institute for Public Service reporting at: Marc Perrusquia is the Institute’s director. David Waters is the Institute’s assistant director.

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