Videos: Police Horses Lick Dogs To Celebrate Labor Day Weekend

Compiled by the The Gothamist

“It’s an Extended ‘Feel Good Sunday'”


Labor Day Weekend is the symbolic end of the summer, the time of year when beaches begin shuttering their shores and bitter screeds about Summer Fridays go the way of the dodo. The long weekend provides the chance for a moment of reflection for millions of overworked, overtaxed, Simpsons-marathoning Americans. Or you could be like us, and just watch a bunch of videos of curious police horses licking, nuzzling, and generally being adorable with dogs.  It’s Magnificant Monday so let’s enjoy!

From all of us at SFTHH and WHFF: “May the last lick of summer lather you in the slobber of true love!”

Feel Good Sunday: “Where the Wild Things Are: Shannon County’s wild horses captivate locals, visitors”


We hope you’re having a great 3 day weekend and enjoying time with your family and friends.  It’s heartwarming to see that many people appreciate horses in the wild.  Keep getting the word out about the wild horses in the West, and keep the faith.


Su_D01_PulseMain1_0831.jpg Heather Gentry/Courtesy

Heather Gentry’s horse, Rainey, grazes with her favorite goat.  The Ozark National Scenic Waterways’ enabling act requires that the wild horse herds’ numbers stay at or below 50, so the Missouri Wild Horse League rounds up and adopts out yearlings.  Rainey was one of these horses.

They might not have the renown of the mustangs of the American West — they do, after all, have a sports car named for them — or the fanfare of the Chincoteague ponies — they inspired a series of beloved children’s books — but the wild horses in Eminence, a river town in southeast Missouri, still are something special.

Jim Smith, who owns Cross Country Trail Riding and is a charter member of the Missouri Wild Horse League, said there are five bands of wild horses that roam the area.

Some might quibble over the “wild” designation. Because their ancestors were domesticated animals — according to local lore, they are descended from horses set loose by their cash-strapped farmers during the Great Depression — “feral” is a more accurate term.

But even so, they live just like the wildlife native to the area.

“They’re wild-wild,” Smith said.

For longtime residents of the area, the horses are part of everyday life.

“My granny lived to be a little past 100. All my years of growing up, she told me stories,” Smith said. “They ran their stock outside, and the wild horse herd would come by and pick up their horse. Sometimes it would be a month or two before they got it back,” Smith said.

John Mark Brewer, secretary of the Eminence Chamber of Commerce, said the horses are a favorite part of the scenery for visitors and locals alike. He likens area residents’ backroading to find the horses to city dwellers’ taking a Sunday drive to look at “the nice neighborhoods.”

As evidence of their farm-horse ancestry, these wild horses are compact and sturdy, and many bear the coloring of an appaloosa stallion that escaped and joined the herd decades ago.

“A lot of them will be born black as a crow, maybe with a blaze face or a white foot, but then as they get a little older, they’ll go to graying out, and they’ll turn plum white,” Smith said.

Though small — the most recent census data put Eminence right at 600 people — the town’s location on the Current and Jack’s Fork rivers makes it a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts. Brewer said on weekends there might be between 10,000 and 20,000 visitors who come to float the rivers, hit the trails and camp along the many creeks and gravel bars near the rivers. And for many, the sight of the horses is a special bonus.

“They’re a majestic symbol of freedom people search out because it gives them the feeling or the notion of that freedom. It’s one thing to see a horse in a field, fed and watered all day. It’s another to see a domesticated animal in the wild,” Brewer said.


Montana horse breeder begins sentence for animal cruelty

Source: The Missoulian

“…five horses, some malnourished, with tight plastic bands that had caused severe leg injuries. Two died and two were euthanized…”

James Leachman

James Leachman

BILLINGS – A Billings horse breeder has begun a 120-day animal-cruelty conviction sentence after the Montana Supreme Court rejected his appeal.

Yellowstone County Attorney Scott Twito says 72-year-old James Leachman turned himself in at the county’s detention center Friday.

Leachman operated a horse breeding business before the U.S. Farm Services Administration foreclosed on the property in 2010. Leachman still kept more than 400 horses on the property after it was sold.

Investigators discovered five horses, some malnourished, with tight plastic bands that had caused severe leg injuries. Two died and two were euthanized.

The Billings Gazette reports Leachman was sentenced to five years in jail with all but 120 days suspended.

Leachman has asked a judge to allow him to serve his sentence at his home for health and other reasons.

Wild Horse & Burro Advocates make next move in Wyoming Welfare Ranching Case

Source: HorseTalk

“This decision illegally elevates the interests of a small group of private landholders and ranchers over the broader interest of the American public and our federally protected wild horses,”

photo by Carol Walker

Wild horse advocates have lost a legal bid for a temporary injunction to stop the muster of mustangs from the checkerboard lands of Wyoming, but they have been granted more time to allow for an appeal…(CONTINUED)

Click (HERE) to read the rest of the story and to comment at HorseTalk

Court Grants Emergency Injunction to Delay BLM Wyoming Wild Horse Roundup

An update from Carol Walker, Director of Field Documentation for Wild Horse Freedom Federation, who is a plaintiff in this Wyoming case.


Salt Wells Creek Wild Horse Family

For Immediate Release

Court Grants Emergency Injunction to Delay BLM Wyoming Wild Horse Roundup

Cheyenne, WY (August 29, 2014)…..Late yesterday, the U.S. District Court in Wyoming granted an emergency injunction to delay until September 12 the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM’s) planned roundup of more than 800 wild horses from public and private lands in the Adobe Town, Salt Wells Creek and Great Divide Basin Herd Management Areas (HMAs) in an area known as the Wyoming checkerboard.
The injunction allows the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign, The Cloud Foundation, Return to Freedom and wild horse photographers Carol Walker and Kimerlee Curyl the opportunity to appeal the district court’s denial of our motion for a Preliminary Injunction to stop the roundup, which was also issued late yesterday.

In response to the rulings, the plaintiffs issued the following statement:

We are pleased that the district court in Wyoming has temporarily enjoined the roundup, but are disappointed in the court’s denial of our longer-term preliminary injunction request. This decision illegally elevates the interests of a small group of private landholders and ranchers over the broader interest of the American public and our federally-protected wild horses.

We look forward to the opportunity to challenge this decision in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit. The ruling fails to hold the BLM to account for its flagrant violation of the National Environmental Policy Act and the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act. Over 40,600 citizens have signed a petition opposing this wild horse roundup. Their voices are being ignored as the BLM marches to the tune of the Rock Springs Grazing Association, whose members view America’s cherished wild horses as competition for cheap, taxpayer-subsidized livestock grazing on our public lands.

We are hopeful that the Tenth Circuit will reverse the district court’s decision to allow the BLM to trounce federal law and the will of the people by proceeding with this unprecedented wild horse roundup without even attempting to comply with governing laws on federally protected public land. At stake is the integrity of well-established laws that govern the BLM’s management of our public lands.



Judge Sides with BLM’s Quest to Destroy Last of Wyoming’s Wild Horses & Burros

Source: Mulitple

Dispite Evidence that BLM Violated Environmental Laws the Deadly Roundup Will Proceed

BLM Captives; Freedom Lost ~ by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

BLM Captives; Freedom Lost ~ by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

CHEYENNE, Wyo. — A federal judge has denied a well aruged request from wild horse and burro advocates to block the federal government’s plan to round up  800 wild horses in Wyoming and virtually “zeroing-out” several very significant herds.

Judge Nancy Freudenthal in Cheyenne on Thursday denied the group’s request for an injunction. The groups responded by filing an appeal with a federal appeals court in Denver.

The groups are challenging the U.S. Bureau of Land Management’s plans to remove horses from the Great Divide Basin, Adobe Town and Salt Wells Creek herd management areas in southern Wyoming areas starting next month.

The groups claim the federal agency failed to follow environmental laws in planning the action.

The state of Wyoming has inappropriatly intervened in the lawsuit, saying wild horses must not be allowed to damage the lands or conflict with private property rights, even though private cattle and sheep outnumber the horses over 100 to 1.

80 Mustangs Die After Move To Scott City

(To read the article referenced in the article below, titled “Wild Horses of the Flint Hills,” click HERE.)


Fury and her mare buddies at the Flint Hills ranch, Feb. 2014 – This summer they were removed to the Scott City feed lot.  Eighty of them perished.
Credit Aileen LeBlanc

You may remember a story that we did in February called “Wild Horses of the Flint Hills.”  It was a story of thousands of wild mustangs which were roaming almost free in vast ranches in the Flint Hills near Cassoday, Kansas.  They originally came from the open ranges of the West and they were brought here because of over crowding.  They are managed by the United States Bureau of Land Management (BLM).

When we were there in February, the horses were all looking healthy–even a little plump.  And now, 80 of them are dead.

“Fury” in the Flint Hills, photo taken in February 2014
Credit Aileen LeBlanc

“The horses had to be removed from a private ranch where they had been held for a number of years under contract.  And that rancher elected not to renew his contract with the government,” said Paul McGuire.  “So BLM was obligated to remove those animals and find another home for them.”

Paul McGuire is with the BLM based in Oklahoma City. Fourteen-hundred and ninety-three mares were moved–200 a day–on semis beginning in the middle of June.

“The first full-month report we had from the facilitator operator came at the end of July.  And it was at that time that we saw numbers on the order of about 47 horses had either died or had to be put down during that time,” said McGuire.  “Those are the numbers that, when they came to BLM’s attention, our leadership immediately dispatched a team to look into that and figure out what was going on and halt it.”

But it didn’t stop at 47.  The horses continued to die in the corral.  Some were too weak to get up and had to be euthanized.  These are the same horses that had lived in the Flint Hills pasture for 14 years.

The feed lot in Scott City is a lot that is used to taking care of cattle and some bison, but not horses who are unaccustomed to being penned, traveling in semi-trucks in the summer, or eating from a bunk or trough.

Video of the Scott City feed lot courtesy of BLM.

“In a feed lot, the horses have to push their way to the bunk, and in some cases, compete for space,” said McGuire.  “You have situations of dominant horses maybe keeping more timid horses back.  And that behavioral dynamic was found to have been what was really at play, or suspected to be what was the cause some of these horses not adapting well to that new environment.”

The inspection team included a vet from the USDA, and though their findings are preliminary, the changes that they made include a different blend and portion of feed.  But the shock of relocation and adjustments to the new home were determined to be the causes of death.

Mares at a lake in the Flint Hills. This photo was taken for our “Wild Horses of the Flint Hills” story which aired in February 2014.
Credit Aileen LeBlanc
 The mustangs began their lives as free roaming animals and have never been broken or gentled, ridden or been hitched to a cart. They like the humans who feed them in the winter–but that’s about it. On the pasture there are many stands of trees, lakes, hills, and valleys. At the corral there is no shelter, no shade. The BLM found that heat has not been a factor. Stephanie Boyles Griffin, senior director of innovative wildlife management with the Humane Society of the United States disagrees.

“We have been stressing since last summer that the BLM has to provide shade for animals that are at a government holding facility–either a long-term holding facility or a short-term.  Adopters are required to provide those animals with shade,” said Boyles Griffin.  “They’re currently doing a study to see if shade is necessary at the Palomino Valley facility outside of Reno, NV, and we all said this is ridiculous.  And again, it speaks to the need for a comprehensive animal welfare program.  If they can’t even make a decision to provide animals with shade without having doing a study, there’s clearly a disconnect between the BLM and identifying just common basic needs of animals they hold in captive holding facilities.”

Paul McGuire of the Bureau of Land Management says that the situation at the Scott City feed lot has stabilized, and that they are trying to secure pastures for the remaining mares.

The “Wild Horses of the Flint Hills” video was shot by Aileen LeBlanc in February 2014.