Federal Judge Gives Wild Horses a Christmas Present

Press Release from the Cloud Foundation

Judge Rules to Keep Expanded Wild Horse Suit in Court

Washington, D.C. (December 22, 2010)—The Cloud Foundation is pleased to announce that on December 15, Federal Judge James S. Gwin declined the government’s motions to dismiss or to transfer to a Montana court the expanded lawsuit brought to preserve the world’s most famous wild horse herd. The suit, filed by the Cloud Foundation, Front Range Equine Rescue and photographer/author Carol Walker, contends that the USFS and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) are engaging in illegal treatment of these federally-protected mustangs.

“We’re pleased that our suit will continue in the present court and we hope that both the BLM and USFS are made to answer for the 40+ years of mismanagement of this precious and celebrated wild horse herd,” stated Ginger Kathrens, Executive Director of the Cloud Foundation.

The expanded suit, filed by Attorneys Valerie J. Stanley and Bruce A. Wagman (Schiff-Hardin), seeks removal of the two-mile long fence recently built by the United States Forest Service (USFS). The fence effectively cuts off the Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Herd from crucial summer and fall grazing lands they’ve used for centuries.

The government sought to have the case dismissed based on statute of limitations grounds. However, Judge Gwin denied the motion, stating that the plaintiffs  “properly and timely stated this claim.” Judge Gwin additionally denied the government’s motion to transfer the case to Montana district court, finding this motion fully unwarranted.

This small Pryor wild horse herd is the world’s most famous and the last remaining in Montana. Sometimes called “Cloud’s herd” for the now-15-year old band stallion who TCF Director and plaintiff Ginger Kathrens has documented for the popular PBS Nature series. Horses, almost genetically identical to the wild horses in the West today, evolved and developed to completion in North America, disappearing from the continent only 7,500 years ago. The Spanish Conquistadors reintroduced horses to their homeland in the early 1500’s during the Conquest. The Pryor herd is one of the most Spanish herds, tracing back to the Caribbean breeding farms of the Conquistadors and more recently the Lewis and Clark expedition horses and Crow Indian War ponies.

“It is time that the boundaries of the Pryor Range are redrawn so that this herd can live into the future at sustainable levels,” explains Front Range Equine Rescue President, Hilary Wood. “The state of Montana had seven wild horse herds designated in 1971. Now we’re down to one.”

Links of interest:

Judge Gwin’s December 2010 Decision http://bit.ly/eRpe0J
Judge Gwin’s August 2010 ruling http://bit.ly/f8WNuA
Nonproft Can Sue to Stop Fencing Out Wild Horses- Court News http://bit.ly/eo1i4D
Explanatory video about Pryors Fence http://bit.ly/dILnUt
The Fencing Off of Cloud’s Herd http://bit.ly/NoFence

Cloud: PBS Natures series http://to.pbs.org/fHhpDx
New Evidence Rewrites Timeline of Horse Extinction http://bit.ly/horseNA
Front Range Equine Rescue http://frontrangeequinerescue.org/
Carol Walker- Wild Hoofbeats Blog http://www.wildhoofbeats.com/blog/
Shortlink to this press release http://bit.ly/WHcase
Past Cloud Foundation releases: http://bit.ly/9XD0TE