Sheriff's Office

PR #:
Date Issued:
Apr 06, 2021 - 12:00PM

For Immediate Release

Man arrested in horse slaying booked with additional charges by RSONU, WCSO

Sarah Johns
Washoe County Sheriff's Office
Office: 775-785-6235
Cell: 775-391-0407


Forrest John Smith, 54, was arrested on April 1, 2021 by Washoe County Sheriff’s Deputies for killing a horse on his property when it was discovered that he was a sex offender out of compliance. The Regional Sex Offender Notification Unit (RSONU) add-booked him with one felony charge of being a sex offender who failed annual verification on April 5, 2021. Smith is a Tier III sex offender previously convicted in Monterey, California with assault with intent to commit mayhem/rape.

It's worth noting Washoe County Sheriff’s Office Patrol Deputies add-booked Smith on April 2, 2021 for three additional felony charges of Willful/Malicious Torture, Maiming, or Killing of an Animal, as well as a gross misdemeanor charge of Attempting to Destroy Evidence.

Smith now faces a total of five felony charges, and one gross misdemeanor charge.

The RSONU was formed in 1998 to be in compliance with federal law passed in 1997.  At that time Washoe County, the City of Sparks and the City of Reno all agreed there was a need for coordination in law enforcement in the tracking, monitoring, investigation, public notification, and the arrest and prosecution of non-compliant sex offenders.  The RSONU operates as a regional, multi-jurisdictional and collaborative entity to carry out the requirements of community notifications as set forth in Chapter 179D of the Nevada Revised Statutes.  The RSONU’s jurisdictional boundaries encompass all of Washoe County, including the Cities of Reno and Sparks.

In addition to the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office investigator, investigators from RPD and SPD are sworn in as Deputies with the WCSO in order to carry out the mission of the Unit. The WCSO also provides an Administrative Office Support Specialist to help with clerical functions.

Currently, there are about 1400 registered sex offenders in the Reno, Sparks and Washoe County area.  Each of the three investigators are assigned over 400 offenders to monitor.

The RSONU is open Monday through Friday, 7am to 5pm, excluding holidays, and can be reached at 775-325-6483.


The Washoe County Sheriff's Office is dedicated to preserving a safe and secure community with professionalism, respect, integrity and the highest commitment to equality. Sheriff Darin Balaam is the 27th person elected to serve as the Sheriff of Washoe County since the Office was created in 1861. The Washoe County Sheriff's Office strives to ensure public safety by building trust and creating partnerships within the diverse communities in which we serve. We will promote the dignity of all people supported by our words and actions through open communication while fostering an environment of professionalism, integrity and mutual respect.


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