BLM Plans Annihilation of Colorado’s Historic West Douglas Wild Horse Herd

 

West Douglas Wild Horses

BLM Plans Annihilation of Colorado’s Historic West Douglas Wild Horse Herd

Colorado Springs, CO (August 12, 2015) –  “Mustangs inhabited the West Douglas Herd Area (WDHA) long before Colorado was even a territory, let alone a state,” stated Toni Moore, Board Member of The Cloud Foundation (TCF). In their Sept. 1, 1776 diary entry Spanish Explorer-Priests Dominguez and Escalante wrote about meeting Ute Indians riding horses in these valleys: “We set out from San Ramón toward the north, and having traveled three leagues through small valleys with abundant pasturage and thick groves of dwarf oak, we met about 80 Yutas [Utes] all on good horses, most of them being from the rancheria to which we were going.”

For decades the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has attempted to obliterate this historic herd that has been in the area since long before the arrival of settlers and ranchers, claiming “wild horses that reside in the WDHA are impacting the landscape and the ability to maintain a thriving, natural ecological balance.”

The BLM estimates a population of 291 wild horses within the WDHA and an additional 74 horses outside the WDHA boundaries. In comparison, the BLM Rangeland Administration System indicates as many as 1158 cow/calf pairs inhabit the area from November through June, dwarfing the wild horse population.

“The owners of these cattle pay the government $1.69 per cow/calf pair per month. At the most, the BLM receives $15,656,” Moore states. “The Federal Livestock Grazing Program costs American taxpayers $123 million yearly.” Removing the cattle would actually save taxpayers money. The planned helicopter removal of wild horses will cost nearly 10 times more than the revenues received from livestock grazers. “The continual damage to the land from cattle and sheep grazing and the yearly drain on taxpayers who foot the bill for welfare ranching has to stop,” Moore concludes.

BLM’s Jan. 2015 Environmental Assessment, states “that all wild horses within or adjacent to the WDHA meet the statutory definition of excess animals, and therefore, consistent with the authority provided in 16 USC § 1333 (b) (2), the BLM shall immediately remove excess animals from the range.” This would reduce wild horse herds in Colorado to four, and the number of horses to 1150, compared to the many thousands of mustangs that once roamed the state.

 “We have battled the destruction of this historic herd in the courts for decades,” stated Ginger Kathrens, Volunteer Executive Director of TCF, a Colorado based non-profit which advocates for the protection and preservation of wild horses on public lands.  “As recently as 2009 the courts ruled against the BLM when District Court Judge Collyer enjoined the BLM from removing any wild horses from the herd,” she states. “BLM’s historic scapegoating of wild horses is a smoke screen,” continued Kathrens.  “Western rangeland damage is caused by millions of head of privately-owned livestock, not our publically owned and theoretically protected wild horses.”

“Grazing of livestock on public lands is considered a privilege, not a right, and permits can be reduced or revoked per BLM Regulations (43 CFR § 4710.5).” mentions Paula Todd King, Communications Director for TCF. “Until the BLM finds the courage to address the real culprit – an overpopulation of welfare livestock – our historic wild horse herds will continue to be managed to extinction.”

Links:

BLM Press Release

http://www.blm.gov/style/medialib/blm/co/field_offices/white_river_field/wild_horse_documents.Par.18152.File.dat/Press%20Release%20WRFO%20Gather%207.29.15.pdf

West Douglas Herd Area Final EA

http://www.blm.gov/style/medialib/blm/co/field_offices/white_river_field/wild_horse_documents.Par.92698.File.dat/Final%20EA%20WDHA%2020150023_7.27.15_withappendices.pdf

Media Contact:

Paula Todd King

The Cloud Foundation

843-592-0720

paula@thecloudfoundation.org

Ginger Kathrens, Exec. Dir. of The Cloud Foundation, with an update on Cloud the Stallion and wild horses on the Pryor Mountains, on Wild Horse & Burro Radio (Wed., 8/12/15)

painy

Wild_Horse_Burro_Radio_LogoJoin us on Wild Horse Wednesday (*SM) , August 12, 2015

5:00 pm PST … 6:00 pm MST … 7:00 pm CST … 8:00 pm EST

Listen to the archived show (HERE!)

You can also listen to the show on your phone by calling (917) 388-4520.

You can call in with questions any time after I introduce Ginger, by dialing (917) 388-4520, then pressing 1.

This is a 1 hour show.  It will be archived so you can listen to it anytime.

_____________________________________________

Our guest tonight is Ginger Kathrens, Founder and Executive Director of The Cloud Foundation.  Ginger will be giving us an update on Cloud the Stallion and the wild horses in the Pryor Mountains in Montana.  Ginger will also talk about the BLM’s plans to sterilize wild horses & burros.

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 Cloud walked up to Ginger’s car, perhaps to admire his likeness in the sign.

Tonight’s show is hosted by Debbie Coffey, V.P. and Dir. of Wild Horse Affairs for Wild Horse Freedom Federation.

To contact us: ppj1@hush.com, or call 320-281-0585

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NM Court: Placitas Horse Herd could be Wild

By as published in the Albuquerque Journal

“We reject the argument that all horses anywhere in New Mexico are livestock”

The New Mexico Court of Appeals has ruled that a herd of horses living in the Placitas area cannot be considered livestock if it is made up of wild horses. (Dean Hanson/Albuquerque Journal)

The New Mexico Court of Appeals has ruled that a herd of horses living in the Placitas area cannot be considered livestock if it is made up of wild horses. (Dean Hanson/Albuquerque Journal)

An appellate court has revived a lawsuit that sought to have a Placitas horse herd declared wild under state law, a ruling described by an advocacy group as a “huge victory” that would allow the animals to continue to roam freely and stop their roundups and sale.

“We reject the argument that all horses anywhere in New Mexico are livestock” simply because some horses are considered livestock, the court said.

The opinion by the New Mexico Court of Appeals interprets the Livestock Code and provisions involving “estrays” – the legal term for unclaimed domestic animals – as “pertain(ing) only to domesticated horses rather than wild, free-roaming horses.” It says the body of animal-related laws in the code requires the New Mexico Livestock Board to DNA test and relocate wild horses. And it sends the case back to the lower court for proceedings consistent with the decision.

The Wild Horse Observers Association, which brought the suit in February 2014, has advocated for the horses to continue roaming freely, while some Placitas residents have argued the horses have damaged the land and are a safety hazard.

The opinion last week by Appeals Court Judge Jonathan Sutin, joined by Judges Michael Bustamante and Cynthia Fry, reversed a trial court in Albuquerque.

Second Judicial District Judge Valerie Huling of Albuquerque had dismissed the lawsuit in July 2014 at the request of the state Livestock Board and a group of individual interveners who live in Placitas.

Wild Horse Observers, in its initial complaint, said the horses have never been owned or claimed by any private landowner, rancher, horse rescue group or Indian tribe. The unbranded horses – 40 at the time of filing – have roamed on public land near Placitas since at least 1965, according to the association.

About 25 of the horses were impounded and auctioned by the Livestock Board, which contended the horses were not wild and that carving out a wild horse exception to livestock laws would mean they weren’t subject to transportation, inspection and anti-cruelty laws.

The Court of Appeals said the board is required by statute to search for the owners of stray livestock for the benefit of the legal owner. State law requires that a wild horse captured on public land to have its DNA tested, and if it tests positive as a Spanish colonial, to be relocated to a state or private wild horse reserve. If it isn’t a Spanish colonial, it must be returned to public land or put up for adoption by the agency on whose land it was captured – in this case, the 560-acre Placitas Open Space managed by the City of Albuquerque’s Open Space Division.

Livestock Board executive Director William Bunch said, “Essentially, this appeal is trying to force regulation based on an incomplete genetic foundation. So it’s going to be hard to enforce. Certainly we will try to comply.”

Wild Horse Observers Association hailed the ruling said on its website as “a huge victory.”

“This appellate court decision has far-reaching ramifications for the historic and beloved wild horses of Placitas on further roundups, auctions and sale, use of PZP contraception for herd management, DNA testing and more,” the statement said.

Town Hall Meeting Addresses Plight of Salt River Wild Horses

By Erika Flores of KPHO.com

“many folks are still concerned about the Salt River horses…”

Click Image to View News Video

Click Image to View News Video

MESA, AZ (KPHO/KTVK) – The U.S. Forest Service originally wanted to round up and remove the wild horses roaming in the Tonto National Forest. But that plan has been put on hold for now.

However, the horses’ fate is still very much up in the air.

More than 100 people gathered for a town hall meeting in Mesa Sunday to voice their concerns and offer solutions.

Residents said the horses are crucial to this state because they are part of Arizona’s identity.

The goal was to discuss what’s next, after controversial plans to round up the wild horses were put on pause.

The U.S. Forest Service originally wanted to remove the horses from national forest land due to safety concerns.

Lawmakers got involved, a lawsuit was filed, and then the Forest Service backed down.

But many folks are still concerned about the Salt River horses.

“I don’t want the next generation to wake up one morning, and say, ‘Oh my gosh. They’re removing our horses in six days.’ We have to protect them now. Declare them wild and create a sanctuary for them,” said Laurie Walker, who was at the meeting.

“People aren’t trained to interact with wildlife. We need to train people,” said Sheryl Styles, who wants a permanent solution for the horses. “It’s learning and teaching people how to interact with wildlife not removing our wildlife from our beautiful areas.”

The lawsuit is moving forward and the group behind it hopes it will help prevent the feds from ever removing the horses.

https://www.facebook.com/saltriverwildhorsemanagementgroup?fref=ts

Federal Judge Rejects Emergency Request to Block Salt River Wild Horse Roundup

“It would be a historic and colossal mistake if the Forest Service would go through with these cruel, cruel plans,”

A federal judge declined to issue an emergency order restraining the Tonto National Forest Service from ousting a famous herd of wild horses from its home along the Salt River in Mesa.

While U.S. Forest Service officials originally announced plans to begin rounding up the horses Friday, in response to aggressive public pushback, the agency agreed not to make a move until September.

With the immediate threat lifted, the judge instructed the Salt River Wild Horse Management Group, a nonprofit that monitors the herd, to deliver the lawsuit to the Forest Service and give them a chance to respond. A hearing is scheduled for August 12.

“There’s no need to panic at this point,” said William Miller, a Scottsdale attorney who is representing the horse advocates. “The game hasn’t even begun.”

The Salt River Wild Horse Management Group is suing the Forest Service for violating the federal Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971, which declares wild horses vital to the “natural system” of public lands and mandates they be protected from “capture, branding, harassment, or death.”

The group also alleges the Forest Service violated the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 because they did not conduct an environment assessment or impact study prior to ordering the horses removal.

“It would be a historic and colossal mistake if the Forest Service would go through with these cruel, cruel plans,” said Simone Netherlands, president of the Salt River Wild Horse Management Group…

…More than 100,000 people have signed an online petition opposing a roundup, inspiring a number of Arizona and U.S. lawmakers to intervene on the herd’s behalf.

In a letter sent to Tonto National Forest Supervisor Neil Bosworth Wednesday, U.S. Senators Jeff Flake and John McCain called on the agency to engage the public before taking action.

“Whether they are treated as feral under state law, or ‘wild’ under federal law, horses are a celebrated icon of the west,” they wrote.

Governor Doug Ducey chimed in, too.

“The federal government should leave our wild horses alone,” he wrote on his Facebook page. “But if they don’t, Arizona will do everything we can to protect them, provide them sanctuary, and ensure they are treated humanely.”

An update on Forest Service plans to annihilate the Salt River wild horses, on Wild Horse & Burro Radio (Fri., 8/7/15)

 My apologies to Simone Netherlands and all of our listeners:  due to the fact that I didn’t realize Arizona isn’t on Daylight Savings Time, I miscalculated the time the show was to start in Arizona on Mountain time.  That is the reason Simone didn’t call in during our show.  Simone was prepared to call in the following hour, which would’ve been the correct time.

Join us on Friday, August 7, 2015

5:00 pm PST … 6:00 pm MST … 7:00 pm CST … 8:00 pm EST

Listen to the live show HERE!

You can also listen to the show on your phone by calling (917) 388-4520.

You can call in with questions during the 2nd half hour, by dialing (917) 388-4520, then pressing 1.

This is a 1 hour show.  It will be archived so you can listen to it anytime.

_____________________________________________

Tonight’s show is hosted by Debbie Coffey, V.P. and Dir. of Wild Horse Affairs for Wild Horse Freedom Federation.

To contact us: ppj1@hush.com, or call 320-281-0585

TO LISTEN TO THE MOST RECENT ARCHIVED SHOWS:

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Forest Service decides to reevaluate plan to remove Wild Horses from Salt River

By Tami Hoey as published on KPHO TV

Tonto National Forest officials made the announcement Thursday they have decided to “take another look” at the plan.

PHOENIX (KPHO/KTVK) – The U.S. Forest Service is reevaluating its plan to round up and remove dozens of wild horses from the Salt River.

Neil Bosworth, Forest Supervisor at the Tonto National Forest, released this statement Thursday:

“We appreciate the local community’s feedback and we’ve decided to take another look at the proposed gathering of stray horses at Tonto National Forest. The Forest Service will continue to engage with the local community, state and federal officials to explore potential alternatives for meeting our obligations for both land stewardship and public safety.”

The Tonto National Forest had placed a Friday deadline on letting people claim any stray horses from the wild herd.  After that, Forest Service officials planned to round up the wild horses and remove them from the national forest land.

READ: Wild horses to be removed from Salt River; conservationists furious

The plan had stirred a huge amount of controversy, emotion and public outcry. The issue also prompted protests, and led advocates and lawmakers to make appeals to scrap the plan.

READ: AZ senators, reps take up battle over fate of Salt River horses

In response to the feedback, Tonto National Forest officials made the announcement Thursday they have decided to “take another look” at the plan.

The response was immediate. Sen. Jeff Flake posted this on his Twitter page Thursday afternoon:

Just received word that the #SaltRiverWildHorses roundup has been called off. The Forest Service has decided to reexamine the issue.

— Jeff Flake (@JeffFlake) August 6, 2015

Senator John Mcain responded on Twitter as well:

Forest Service is postponing roundup of #SaltRiverWildHorses – step in right direction, but FS must engage w/ concerned Arizonans, answer Qs

John McCain (@SenJohnMcCain) August 6, 2015

Bill Miller is the attorney representing the Salt River Wild Horse Management Group, which filed a lawsuit to stop the feds from removing the horses.

Miller said that public pressure from the community had an impact on the U.S. Forest Service’s decision to take a step back and re-evaluate the wild horse issue.

“I think it was the forest service making the decision to monitor public input,” said Miller. “Obviously, they will be looking at the law we cited in our lawsuit and doing some due diligence to whether or not this is a proper decision.”

Miller said that Thursday’s announcement was a victory, but he’s not about to celebrate.

He plans to move forward with their lawsuit to prevent the forest service from ever removing wild horses in the future.

PHOTOS: Salt River wild horses

Twin Peaks wild horses & burros in danger: another large and fast moving wildfire

 

Twin Peaks HMA Rush Fire on Rye Patch Road August 18, 2012 (Photo by BLM)

Twin Peaks HMA Rush Fire on Rye Patch Road August 18, 2012 (Photo by BLM)

After the Twin Peaks HMA Rush Fire in 2012, this HMA is again under siege by another large wildfire.

by Grandma Gregg

Another large and out of control wildfire is raging in the Twin Peaks HMA (NE California).  Many wild horses live in this Dodge Reservoir part of the HMA.  The fire has so-far consumed over 11,000 acres just since Monday afternoon.  The fire was caused by a BLM contractor.  The area has many fences and cross-fences and cattle guards. Most wild animals can go over or under a fence or go underground or fly away during a fire.  The wild horses and burros cannot.

If the BLM doesn’t open all the gates and drop a few fences in the path of the fire so the wild horses and burros can escape … many wild horses and burros will die.  Every minute counts.

Nobody wants to hear this but a few days after the recent Twin Peaks Rush fire, I saw with my own eyes, a stallion and two mares with black ash up to their knees and with fences nearby and the mares had heavy milk bags (full udders) and there were NO FOALS anywhere around.  There is no doubt in my mind that their foals were killed in the fire so although none of us can even imagine (without tears in our eyes) the terror and suffering of those foals and their mothers, it is because many were trapped by the livestock fences.  That is a major cause of wild ones dying from these fires – trapped by the livestock fences – and BLM would not admit that a single wild horse or burro died in that almost 400,000 acre fire.  So sorry to have to tell this story  … but some of us need to know the truth.  Tears in my eyes and pain in my heart for our wild ones out there this very minute – their fate is in jeopardy and in the hands of BLM.

Please contact BLM and ask them to be sure that ALL the gates in the path of the fire are OPENED and fences CUT so that the wild horses and burros have at least a CHANCE of escape from this wildfire.  BLM needs to know we care.  Please contact Jeff Fontana, (530) 252-5332 or jfontana@blm.gov and BLM Northern California District Manager Nancy Haug email nhaug@blm.gov
Please and thank you.

Tribal sanctuary available to Salt River wild horses

SOURCE:  azcentral.com

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(photo:  Salt River Wild Horse Management Group)

by EJ Montini

The wild horses of the Salt River have a safe refuge. If only they knew to go there.

Perhaps they’ll sense it.

The Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community already has wild horses on its tribal land. They know the value living wild and free, and they know as well, as all native people know, what it is like to have one’s boundaries defined by the federal government. On Tuesday, after learning that the U.S. Forest Service planned to institute a program that would remove the horses from the Salt and Verde Rivers northeast of Mesa the tribe issued the following statement:

“On Monday August 3, 2015 the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community (SRPMIC) was made aware of an extensive operation by the United States Forest Service (USFS) to remove wild free-roaming horses from lands under the jurisdiction of the Tonto National Forest, this includes areas on the Salt and Verde Rivers beginning Friday August 7, 2015.

“The SRPMIC tribal land is adjacent to the Tonto National Forest on its eastern boundary. The Salt and Verde rivers also lie at the Community’s eastern edge. While the Community is happy to work with agencies on the management of wild free-roaming horses it was unaware of the USFS planned actions. Neither the Community nor its staff participated in the planning of the roundup or have attended a Feral Horse Working Group which has been erroneously reported in the media.

“Since the 1970s the SRPMIC has had an active Wild Free-Roaming Horse Ordinance that recognizes their contribution to the diversity of the Community while enriching the lives of people. At any given time, there are approximately 60 wild free-roaming horses in the river area within the tribal boundaries of the Community near the Salt and Verde Rivers. Additionally, the Community has a Northern Range herd that has approximately 180 wild horses within the range area of the Community. If a wild free-roaming horse is within the Community boundaries, it is subject to the Community’s ordinance for protection. ”

Protection, particularly from the government, is something the animals shouldn’t need. But they do.

The horses already have on their side the dedicated and energetic members of the Salt River Wild Horse Management Group, which has been rallying public support for allowing the animals to remain where they are.

The Forest Services is feeling the heat.

Tonto spokeswoman Carrie Templin on Tuesday said the Forest Service would not initiate the round-up Friday and that there was no specific timeline for the removal of the horses.

She did make the argument, however, that removal was necessary for the horses safety, owing to the danger of accidents on the Bush highway.

The problem with that argument is the Forest Service’s own notice of removal, which read in part: “All impounded animals not redeemed within 5 days after notice of sale of impounded livestock has been published in a local newspaper, posted in the county court house and in one or more local post offices, will be offered for sale at public auction. Livestock not sold at public sale may be sold at private sale or condemned and destroyed, or otherwise disposed of…”

I’d guess the horse would prefer to take their chances crossing the highway than with a public auction. And I’d guess that the majority of motorists who travel that road would agree.

In the meantime, here’s hoping as many horses as possible find their way to Salt River Pima-Maricopa tribal land, where wild horses living free and unencumbered lives are not a threat or a burden but appreciated for “enriching the lives of people.”

Carol Walker on BLM’s plans to STERILIZE wild horses, on Wild Horse & Burro Radio (Wed., 8/5/15)

painy

Wild_Horse_Burro_Radio_LogoJoin us on Wild Horse Wednesday (*SM) , August 5, 2015

6:00 pm PST … 7:00 pm MST … 8:00 pm CST … 9:00 pm EST

Listen to the archived show (HERE!)

You can also listen to the show on your phone by calling (917) 388-4520.

You can call in with questions during the 2nd half hour, by dialing (917) 388-4520, then pressing 1.

This is a 1 hour show.  It will be archived so you can listen to it anytime.

_____________________________________________

Our guest tonight is Carol Walker, Dir. of Field Documentation for Wild Horse Freedom Federation.

Carol will be talking about Bureau of Land Management (BLM) plans to STERILIZE wild  horses, including the FIELD SPAYING OF WILD MARES.  (Due to the mismanagement of the BLM, most wild horse herds are not even viable.)

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Leon Pielstick, DVM, inserting a chain ecraseur via colpotomy incision

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Preparing a stallion for vasectomy

Tonight’s show is hosted by Debbie Coffey, V.P. and Dir. of Wild Horse Affairs for Wild Horse Freedom Federation.

To contact us: ppj1@hush.com, or call 320-281-0585

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