Call to Action: Complaint – Medical Malpractice Related to Unnecessary Surgery

Source: Wild Horse Freedom Federation

Home of BLM sterilization experiment lab at Hines, OR holding facility - photo by R.T. Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

Home of BLM sterilization experiment lab at Hines, OR holding facility – photo by R.T. Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

“We are all, collectively, disgusted and dismayed at the concept of the Oregon State University (OSU) partnering with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to conduct cruel and unnecessary sterilization experiments on federally protected wild fillies and mares.  It is unconscionable and we do NOT want it to proceed and we surely don’t want to watch/observe it.  We want to STOP IT!!!

Many times our readers ask what they can do to help, how can they make a difference, what can be done to stop the madness…well here is your chance to speak out.

Printed below is a letter, minus your personal contact information, that you can update, print out, snail mail or email electronically to OSU and even cut and paste into the United States Department of Agriculture – Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service’s web form page.  We also have provided a link where you can download the letter in Word along with the contact information.

So have at it and please proceed with haste; enter your contact information and let it fly…the wild mares are running out of time.

If you need any assistance, feel free to contact me, personally, at or

Get after it, my friends, spread the word…you have the tools!” ~ R.T.

Send To:

1.) Oregon State Veterinary Medical Examining Board
800 NE Oregon Street, Ste. 407
Portland, Oregon 97232

Attn: Veterinary Board Investigator

Re: Leon Peilstick, DVM
2.) United States Department of Agriculture
Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (web form)

July 22, 2016

Oregon State Veterinary Medical Examining Board
800 NE Oregon Street, Ste. 407
Portland, Oregon 97232

Attn: Veterinary Board Investigator

Re: Complaint – Medical Malpractice Related to Unnecessary Surgery

Medical Malpractice Related to Unnecessary Surgery

By Law Offices of Barry G. Doyle, P.C.

Unnecessary surgery is a type of medical malpractice. A form of medical malpractice that has become an alarming and growing problem in the U.S. is unnecessary surgery.

This type of malpractice can lead to life-threatening complications and completely alter an individual’s life. When a surgeon performs an unnecessary surgery, it is an act of medical negligence. Doctors should take every precaution before deciding to prescribe any type of invasive surgery to a patient. When there is a failure to do this and it results in unnecessary surgery, they may be held legally liable. Unnecessary surgery can lead to serious or even life-threatening complications. Some of the risks include hemorrhaging, damage to organs, infection, amputation and anesthesia errors. Putting animals through unnecessary surgery where they face complications that could significantly alter their life is a form of medical negligence.”

The facilities in violation include the Oregon State University (OSU) & the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). BLM facility locations are the Burns Oregon and Hines Oregon wild horse holding locations but this complaint is in conjunction with any and all other government or private facility under direction of the BLM.

The Oregon State licensed veterinarian in violation of this medical malpractice related to unnecessary surgery is Leon Pelistick; and others – names of which are unknown to me at this time.

Location: BURNS OR 97720
License Type: Veterinarian
License #: 1282
License Status: Active
Initially Licensed: 7/20/1973
License Expires: 12/31/2016

The United States Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in conjunction with the Oregon State University, is planning a cruel and completely unnecessary sterilization “research” which includes dangerous experimentation on pregnant wild horse mares. The surgeries will be overseen by the University’s Veterinary School. In coordination with BLM, veterinarians have been assembled by Oregon State University (OSU) to conduct these unnecessary and dangerous surgeries. Three additional veterinarians licensed in the State of Oregon will conduct the procedures.

Dr. Charles Mayo, of the famous Mayo Clinic, stated:

“I abhor vivisection … it should be abolished … I know of no discovery that could not have been obtained without it…”

What is vivisection? Vivisection is the practice of animal experimentation. This can include administering drugs, infecting with diseases, poisoning for toxicity testing, brain damaging, maiming, binding, and other painful and invasive procedures.

Don Moore, DVM is a respected Veterinarian who has extensive knowledge about wild horses and wild horse behavior. He states, “The three surgical procedures for permanent sterilization of mares described in the mare sterilization research project, ovariectomy via colopotomy, tubal ligation and hysteroscopically-guided laser ablation of the oviduct papilla all require certain pre-operative and post-operative considerations for aseptic surgical protocol and pain management.

Pre-operative bloodwork and a thorough examination are always performed on the relatively few domestic mares which are spayed. Other options other than surgery are always considered first due to the risk involved with any of these procedures. Aseptic surgical protocol and pain management is the standard of care for each and every surgery or the performing veterinarian would undoubtedly be sued by the owner and reprimanded by the state veterinary board.

Wild mares will not have their surgeries performed in a sterile surgical suite. Their surgery will be performed in a non-sterile chute or standing in stocks at the local BLM facility without the benefit of the routine standard of care. Unlike domestic mare who are easily handled, the very handling of these wild mares presents additional pre-operative stressors, which cannot be mitigated.

The BLM does not possess the statutory authority to treat America’s wild free roaming mares as research test subjects to perform surgeries which are not the standard care for domestic mares.

This type of trial and error butchery is a violation of the least feasible management clause of the Wild Free Roaming Horses and Burros Act.

Mass experimental surgeries performed under these conditions outlined in the proposal amounts to negligence and abuse. I believe experiments such as this proposal are unethical, inhumane and unwarranted. Any veterinarian(s) who would perform these experiments is in violation of the oath taken as a graduating veterinarian, ‘above all else, do no harm’. If a veterinarian in private practice performed these procedures in the manner described in this document, they would most certainly be reported to and disciplined by the regulatory board of that state. Discipline would likely mean suspension of that veterinarian’s license to practice in that state.”

Cruelty to animals, also called animal abuse, is the human infliction of suffering or harm upon any nonhuman animal, for purposes other than self-defense or survival. Experimenting on wild horses and burros is cruel, inhumane and absolutely unnecessary. BLM and Oregon State’s cruel, inhumane torture of and experimentation on our wild horses is absolutely not acceptable. In no way does this sterilization proposal conform to the minimally intrusive management on the range that the Congressionally Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act of 1971 demands to protect these wild creatures.

 Sterilization is a term referring to any process that eliminates (removes) or kills (deactivates) all forms of life.  Sterilizing a wild horse or burro herd is the opposite of the intent of the 1971 Wild Free-roaming Horse and Burro Act (WFRHBA) and it fails to analyze an alternative that follows the Congressional Act that states, the wild horses and burros shall be protected from capture, branding, harassment, or death’. It would be anomalous to infer that by authorizing the custodian of the wild free roaming horses and burros to “manage” them, Congress intended to permit the animals’ custodian to subvert the primary policy of the statute by harassing and experimenting on the very animals that congress sought to protect from being killed and harassed and captured and removed from the wild.

The thinking, feeling animals who are used in experiments are treated like nothing more than disposable laboratory equipment. They are not only physically traumatized but they are psychologically traumatized and all of this is done unnecessarily. Animal experimentation is an inherently unethical practice. Under conceptual approaches to animal cruelty, performing unnecessary experiments or demonstrations upon animals that cause them substantial pain or distress may be viewed as cruelty.

There is nothing sterile about a holding facility, and these are wild mares that are going to be absolutely terrified by being confined in this chute and having an incision made in their vaginas so the veterinarian’s arm can reach in and rip out their ovaries. The possibility of the mares panicking despite the sedation is high, and they could break their necks in the chute. They can also die from sedation, or their hearts can stop from sheer terror. The sterilization procedures that BLM is proposing to conduct on federally protected wild mares are dangerous, costly and impractical for use in the field, including any BLM holding facility due to the serious health risks they pose to the horses and their unborn foals. BLM’s cruel, inhumane torture of and experimentation on our wild horses is absolutely not acceptable and in no way conforms to the minimally intrusive management on the range that the Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act of 1971 was passed to ensure.

More information:

Your action is urgently needed to prevent the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) plans to conduct cruel and unethical and unnecessary sterilization experiments on wild horses, including painful and life-threatening surgeries on pregnant mares and young fillies in non-sterile environments. The first sterilization experiments are slated to occur any day now in partnership with Oregon State University and under the direction of Leon Pelistick, DVM. Unless halted, these unnecessary and brutal experiments will begin immediately.


To download in Word:

Feel Good Sunday: Videos to Cleanse your Mind, Heart and Soul

“Today’s installment is a collection of videos that readers have forwarded my way as submissions for ‘Feel Good Sunday’.  Their interest and participation are greatly appreciated and if anyone would like to do the same please feel free to forward your most treasured and touching thoughts, articles and/or videos to me, directly, at or  It is always much more meaningful and fun when it is a group effort.  Be safe, my friends, and enjoy!” ~ R.T.

Pippin the miniature stallion was out with his family when he meets a herd of horses and falls in love. It takes the other horses a minute to trot over to the fence where Pippin is standing. They’re quickly smitten with the little one and interact so gently with him!  (Over barbed wire, Oh NO! ~ R.T.)

(A tad lengthy but if you love donkeys and cats, we do, then it is worth sipping a cup of coffee and watching in it’s entirety ~ R.T.)

Click Image to View Video

Click Image to View Video

(And from our friends at the Cloud Foundation)

Vale OR BLM Postpones Wild Horse Stampede

Source: The Argus Observer

“Yesterday we commented that a helicopter stampede would be conducted in Oregon to kidnap more “fresh” mares for the BLM to brutally experiment on at their Hines Holding Facility; the torture was scheduled to begin next week on the 26th.  But it now appears that the horses will have a few more weeks to live in freedom,with their families and the mares with their ovaries.  The ridicules madness has been postponed until the end of next month.  The unedited article is listed below.” ~ R.T.

“…the appropriate management level for the area is 75–150 wild horses…(non-viable herd)”

8 month old fillies at BLM's Hines, Oregon holding facility...waiting for the "experiment"

8 month old fillies at BLM’s Hines, Oregon holding facility…waiting for the “experiment”

VALE — The Bureau of Land Management’s Vale District is postponing a planned gather of wild horses in the Three Fingers Herd Management Area.

The gather was expected to start July 26, but that has been postponed to a tentative date of Aug. 23.

The objective of the gather is to capture 100 wild horses from the Three Fingers management area and return 50 horses — 25 studs and 25 mares — to the range to re-establish an appropriate management level following the gather. The herd population is currently estimated at 202; the appropriate management level for the area is 75–150 wild horses.

The Three Fingers management area is approximately 25 miles south of Vale. It is bordered on the west by the Owyhee Reservoir, on the south by the Leslie Gulch Road, and on the north by the Owyhee Dam.

Extended drought conditions in the region and a horse population exceeding the management level have resulted in horses from the Three Fingers herd grazing well outside their area in search of water and forage. This grazing has extended into areas affected by the 2015 Soda Fire which burned nearly 280,000 acres in Oregon and Idaho. Grazing in these areas is especially destructive as the fire rehabilitation efforts are vulnerable to activity of any kind in the affected area.

Protecting these fire rehabilitation areas is necessary to prevent the spread of exotic annual weed species, which can potentially convert a burned area to a weed-dominated community. Additionally, heavy grazing by horses from the Three Fingers herd outside their management area jeopardizes the health of surrounding rangelands, wetlands, wildlife habitat, as well as the health and well-being of the Three Fingers herd.

Horses that are removed from the range will be transported to Oregon’s Wild Horse Corral Facility in Hines. The public can visit and view the horses once they arrive at the facility any time during regular business hours, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. The horses gathered during this effort will be made available for adoption later this year.

The Vale District BLM will host public viewing days near the capture site as horses are gathered and sorted. Viewing may be scheduled on short notice but can accommodate a maximum of fifteen people each day.

Those interested in viewing can contact Larry Moore at or (541) 473-6218 for more information. Viewing opportunities and gather reports will be shared at:

Editor’s Note: Keep Focused and Stay the Course

A few words by R.T. Fitch ~ president of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

Steens HMA wild horse family, about to be destroyed by BLM

Steens HMA wild horse family, about to be destroyed by BLM – photo by R.T. Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

It is very unusual for us not to have a daily post on SFTHH but over the past several days we have attempted to stay focused on several important Wild Horse and Burro issues and did not want to dilute the sentiment any more than was required.

Right now, there is bait trapping being conducted in the South Steens HMA in Oregon, just south of the BLM’s Hines holding facility where the Frankenstein experimental sterilizations will be taking place. Several weeks ago Carol Walker and I spent days on that HMA while she took photos of the families that were about to be torn apart and I did my usual job of taking pictures of the photographer taking pictures.

Home of BLM sterilization experiment lab at Hines, OR holding facility - photo by R.T. Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

Home of BLM sterilization experiment lab at Hines, OR holding facility – photo by R.T. Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

Likewise, we visited the very place where these experiments are going to take place, if not already underway, and reported how the BLM had already shipped most of the geldings out and staged all the fillies and mares by ages and stages of pregnancy for theses brutal experiments.

Next week the BLM will conduct helicopter roundups in the Three Fingers HMA in the Vale area of Oregon for the exclusive purpose of supplying more “fresh” mares to experiment with and torture. It would be our hope that many observers are present as it will not stop the barbarism but the conduct of the contractor is always more subdued when multiple camera lens’ are pointed at them.

Carol’s report:

Three Fingers Info:

Likewise we are concerned about the transfer of 1,000 long-term holding horses from the Triple U Ranch in South Dakota. Why? Because the long term contractor is Spur Livestock who are on record, we exposed this two years ago, as selling wild horses that we were being paid to care for to known kill buyers. The BLM scoffed at our documentation and reports…This also bears watching and several questions should be asked:

  • Has an EA been done for the new ranch/location and if not, why?
  • The article discusses moving geldings and mares, BLM records indicate that only geldings were on the former ranch so where did the mares come from, unless geldings can produce them, somehow?

Relocation Information:

So we have a lot on our plates and much work is being conducted behind the scenes, but your interest, help in getting the information out and calls are all bright stars of light as far as the wild horses and burros are concerned.

Regardless of your level of involvement, everyone who feels care and concern for the issue is important in securing the future heatlh, safety and welfare of our wild equines on their rightful, public lands.

Keep the faith.

Surprise, Surprise: BLM and USFS Fail to Identify, Track, Penalize or Deter Unauthorized Welfare Livestock Grazing on Public Lands

Source: The Wildlife News

“…but both the Bureau of Land Management and the United States Forest Service have PLENTY of time to exploit, harass, roundup, hold and spread rumors and bogus propaganda about a handful of federally protected wild horses and burros on their rightful public land.  Something is WAAAAAYYY out of alignment and skewed totally to benefit federally subsidized welfare ranchers…the “Good Ole Boy Club” smells more like rotting fish than simple cow poop!” ~ R.T.

“The report also highlights the extent to which public lands livestock grazing is heavily subsidized by American taxpayers.”

Giant BLM Bovine Mowing Machine ~ photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

Giant BLM Bovine Mowing Machine ~ photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report last week detailing the extent to which the United States Forest Service (USFS) and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) have failed to follow agency regulations in documenting and penalizing unauthorized or trespass livestock grazing on federal public lands. The report, entitled Unauthorized Grazing: Actions Needed to Improve Tracking and Deterrence Efforts, was requested by Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), Ranking Member of the House Natural Resources Committee. The request came in response to several high profile cases of trespass grazing and a recognition of the devastating ecological impacts it can have on wildlife habitat.

The report came to several important conclusions. Trespass grazing is pervasive and causes widespread degradation of public lands, agencies do not document it adequately, and the Forest Service trespass fees are too low to be a deterrent.

The report also highlights the extent to which public lands livestock grazing is heavily subsidized by American taxpayers.  In 2016, BLM and the Forest Service charged ranchers $2.11 per animal unit month for horses and cattle, and $0.42 for sheep and goats. But, average private grazing land lease rates in western states ranged from $9 to $39.

In a separate press release, Grijalva stated, “We know we’re leasing public land at well below market value. What we don’t know nearly enough about is the extent or impact of unauthorized grazing on public lands. The Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management need to bring grazing fees in line with the modern economy and take illegal use of public lands more seriously going forward.”

In addition to the agencies’ failure to document or penalize trespass grazing, the report states that according to agency personnel, “high-profile cases of intentional unauthorized grazing and related antigovernment protests can affect agency decision making regarding enforcement … (and) that not taking enforcement action on violators is likely to encourage more unauthorized grazing.” The report also states that “lack of support from higher-level managers for strong enforcement action does not incentivize field staff to act on unauthorized grazing and, in some cases, lowers staff morale.”

The report also acknowledges the significant ecological damage that trespass grazing can cause. The report states, “(U)nauthorized grazing may create various effects, such as severely degrading rangelands under certain conditions.” This damage was witnessed firsthand by the GAO investigators. “During our field visits, we observed locations where unauthorized grazing had resulted in severely damaged natural springs, overgrazed meadows, and trampled streambeds.”

“Western Watershed Project (WWP) has been documenting these types of abuse for years. Our reports often fall on deaf ears or are purposefully ignored by agency land managers who refuse to follow the law and punish or even document illegal grazing on public lands,” said Jonathan Ratner, the groups Wyoming Director.

Because the agencies rarely track and report on unauthorized grazing, the GAO concluded that the frequency and extent of unauthorized grazing on agency lands are largely unknown. The report found that rather than report and penalize unauthorized grazing as required by agency regulation, agency personnel are far more likely to handle incidents informally with no subsequent documentation. This leads to both a lack of institutional knowledge and makes identifying and prosecuting serial violators much more difficult.

“Trespass grazing occurs far more often than the agencies are willing to admit. We often find cows grazing inside exclosures, in the wrong pastures, or long after the permitted season of use. In fact, this is more the norm than the exception,” said Josh Osher, WWP’s Montana Director.

Even when trespass grazing is reported and the agencies take action, the GAO found that the penalties assessed are often too low to act as a deterrent.  This is especially true for the Forest Service where the penalty for trespass grazing may be even less the cost of permitted grazing elsewhere.  The report points out that agency field staff stated, “that penalties for unauthorized grazing are rarely or never an effective deterrent … some told us that there are permittees who view the penalties for unauthorized grazing as a cost of doing business because paying the penalties is cheaper than seeking forage elsewhere.”

A previous GAO report on trespass grazing in 1990 reached similar conclusions, including “when offenders were detected, BLM frequently exacted no penalties and, for the more serious violations, seldom assessed the minimum penalties its own regulations required. As a result, unauthorized grazing was not adequately deterred, which could lead to degradation of public rangelands, among other things.”  At that time, GAO made recommendations to the BLM including that all incidents of unauthorized grazing be documented and that compliance inspections be expanded to “provide systematic compliance coverage.”  Unfortunately, these recommendations were largely ignored by the agency.

“A culture of willful ignorance is pervasive within the BLM and Forest Service. The agencies rarely inspect grazing allotments and even when violations are found, corrective actions are rarely taken and violators are rarely punished,” said WWP’s Idaho Director Ken Cole.

In this latest report, the GAO makes similar recommendations to the agencies about identification, documentation, and deterrence of trespass grazing. While the BLM and Forest Service generally agree with the conclusions of the report and claim they will make changes to agency policy, based on past experience, WWP is not confident that changes will occur or that local field managers will change current practices.

GAO Report:

1,000 Wild Horses in Holding Being Transferred by Alleged BLM Slaughter Dealers?

By Stephen Lee as published on Capitol Journal

“Below is an interesting, local news article that might have otherwise slipped beneath national press radar if enlightened eyes had not been watching. 

Remember back in early 2013 when our own VP of Wild Horse Freedom Federation uncovered that BLM long term holding contractors, Spur Livestock, sold former wild horses to known kill buyers?  click (HERE) and (HERE)

Likewise, remember when I presented the documentation to the members of the BLM Wild Horse & Burro Advisory Board in Oklahoma City, the same year, complete with signed BLM documents and the agency swept the whole thing under the carpet with the Department of Justice refusing to take any action? click (HERE)

Well guess what, the BLM and the slaughter boys from Spur Livestock are at it again and there is a whole bunch of smoke and mirrors surrounding the deal detailed below.  Good luck at following the cast of characters as it reads like some sort of spy novel but I believe this little transaction might bear some looking into, what do you think?” ~ R.T.

photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

More than 1,000 wild horses from the former Triple U ranch northwest of Fort Pierre now owned by Ted Turner will be moved to a ranch in Butte County owned by Neal Wanless, the once-poor cowboy who won a huge lottery prize in 2009.

Federal officials with the Bureau of Land Management, who oversee such wild horses relocated from federal lands in western states, discussed the relocation plan with the Butte County Commission on Tuesday, July 14, according to the Black Hills Pioneer.

It’s the latest development with what media mogul Ted Turner is doing with his newest buffalo ranch, the one a few miles from Fort Pierre and famous as the setting 25 years ago for many scenes from the Kevin Costner film, “Dances With Wolves.”
Turner bought the Triple U ranch last year for $32.4 million in a deal made public in September that included 45,000 acres, about 1,500 buffalo, the wild horses and ranch buildings.

About 10 years ago Turner bought the Bad River Ranch west of Fort Pierre, which has a corner just a few miles from the former Triple U Ranch. Turner is said to own more buffalo than any other private owner.

The former Triple U, known again as its historic name of the Standing Butte Ranch, was sold by Kay Ingle. She is the daughter of Roy and Nellie Houck who bought the ranch in 1959 who built it into one of the largest buffalo ranches in the country. The Colorado firm that had planned to auction the ranch last summer billed it as a place that remained pretty much the same as it was 210 years ago when Lewis and Clark passed near it. 

Seven years ago, the BLM wild horses were brought to the Triple U as part of a program BLM uses to find private ranch properties relatively untouched by modernity to place wild horses crowding federal lands in western states. The BLM pays a lease fee for such use.

Spur Livestock, owned by Jim Reeves and Lyle Anderson of Midland, South Dakota, have had the contract with BLM to manage the wild horse herd and will be part of the re-location, the Pioneer reported. Anderson declined to comment to the Capital Journal on Saturday.

Spur Livestock will lease land from Wanless, using the BLM rental revenue…(CONTINUED)

Please comment directly at:

Wild Horse Freedom Federation President, R.T. Fitch, presenting Spur Livestock evidence to BLM

Informational links, please feel free to reference:

Breaking News: Wild Horses Sold to Kill Buyer by BLM Contractor

Update: Citizen Investigation Exposes Evidence of BLM Wild Horses Sold to Probable Slaughter

Dept. of Justice refuses to take any action against Spur Livestock, BLM contractors who sold wild horses to kill buyer


Feel Good Sunday: Horses Help Heal People’s Troubled Bodies And Spirits

Whether or not you believe in holistic medicine, one thing is certain: there is just something about the relationship we humans have with animals that is absolutely incredible! And when that relationship is used to help a human feel better? You can actually see the results with your own two eyes.
This special horse retreat is known as Equinsity Retreats, and it’s meant to help people’s souls feel good again. While to some people it might seem silly, others swear by it. The horses on this 325-acre estate were bred to love humans, but for the most part they’re absolutely free and wild animals.
The horses are all incredibly comfortable to be around humans and just love snuggling up with each other on the ground. Although it might look a little weird to see horses so slow and pleasant, we can assure you that they’re healthy and perfectly normal in every sense of the word. They’ve just been brought up so happily that they act a bit different than any horse you’re used to seeing.
The video below is actually a teaser trailer for a thirty minute award winning movie titled “One With The Herd” that’s going to be shown in New York City as part of the ‘Equus Film Festival’ on November 19-22. People from all over the world come to this amazing place to let the horses heal their spirits. It’s been described that there’s an ancient sort of power you can feel when you’re with a horse, a deep understanding, and when you watch this video, you’ll want to go feel it, too!

Havasupai Reach Horse Agreement with Advocacy Group

Nancy Harrison, KPNX Channel 12

“This is seen as a ground-breaking move…”

SUPAI, Ariz. – Known for its turquoise blue waterfalls, more than 25,000 hikers visit the Havasupai Falls at the bottom of the Grand Canyon every year.

(Photo: Katie Miliavacca)

(Photo: Katie Miliavacca)

A woman who has been leading a tireless effort for years to stop the abuse of horses and mules which carry tourists’ heavy gear,  ice chests, and camping supplies down nearly 10 miles to the bottom of the Grand Canyon says she and a tribal leader are now in amicable talks to improve the health of the pack animals.

“A tribe animal control officer says she has paid someone to fill the 300 gallon water trough at the top of the trailhead into the canyon for the next three months,” said Susan Ash of the advocacy group SAVE Havasu Horses. “She has also given SAVE and other groups permission to bring hay and even more water.”

This is seen as a ground-breaking move on the part of the Havasupai tribe.

For several years, animal rights advocates and hundreds of tourists from around the world have posted photos and videos on social media showing horrible animal abuse. Tourists consistently report seeing injured and even dying horses lying on the side of the trail going in to the canyon.

Still, many people never see the physical abuse as injuries are generally found under the horse’s blanket and saddle.

The animal advocates and many tribal supporters have been at odds over the issue for decades.

Ash said the tribal animal control officer told her she also plans to get three more water troughs for the animals. Currently there are only a couple of small troughs at the trailhead and when a 12 News crew recently visited the trailhead, all of the troughs were dry.

“We are extremely happy about the tribe’s step to ensure that there is adequate water and food for the animals at Hilltop,” Ash said. “We sincerely hope this is the first of many reforms the tribe will make in taking care of their animals. We will continue to offer help to bring these animals to a healthy condition and to keep them that way.”

Meantime, yesterday the Havasupai tribe had other news.

The tribe announced Thursday it would temporarily suspend third-party travel companies including REI, Pygmy and many others from using the pack animals to go into Supai until the methods of properly taking care of the animals is examined by the tribal council.

In April, 12 News was first to report U.S. federal officers seizing four badly abused horses from a tribal member and putting them in to the care of a veterinarian with the Coconino County Humane Association in Flagstaff.

The horse owner was prosecuted and tried for several counts of animal abuse.  A federal court judge ordered Leland Joe is not allowed to own pack animals for three years and is on probation. This was the first time in history that the U.S. government rescued pack animals from the Havasupai reservation, something the federal government can legally do, but has avoided in the past.

Video: CO Congressman Pleads Case to STOP Federal Sterilization Experiments on Wild Horse Mares

Many thanks to any and all who helped inform the good Congressman on the insanity of the BLM’s plan to use and abuse wild horse mares in unconscionable and inhumane sterilization experiments.

Click Image to View Video

Click on Image to View Video

Additional Information:

2 Retired Horses Who Served Their Country Finally Have New Homes

By Julie Zauzmer  from The Washington Post (Stars and Stripes)

“He’s an honored member of the military…”

Kristen Whittaker hugs Quincy, the horse she adopted, on July 8. Once a participant in funerals at Arlington National Cemetery, Quincy will be moved to Massachusetts where he will live with about a dozen other horses. Bonnie Jo Mount/The Washington Post

There’s already one former service member in the Whittaker household, but soon there will be two veterans: one human, and one horse.

Quincy completed his service to the Army on July 8, and met Sean Sutton and Kristen Whittaker, the veteran and his wife who will take the horse home with them.

“He’s an honored member of the military,” Whittaker said, stroking Quincy. “We can provide a life for him where we can hopefully make him comfortable.”

Quincy had a rigorous job – he served as a caisson horse at Arlington National Cemetery, where he participated in the funerals of military members. Then navicular disease crippled him, and the Army put him up for adoption.

Dozens of people all over the country put in applications, eager to acquire a beautiful Army-trained horse free of charge. Thousands more shared Quincy’s story online, expressing their hopes that a horse who has served his country with dignity would go to a good home for his retirement.

Now he will: Whit Acres Farm, a 40-acre Massachusetts ranch with all the latest in horse luxuries. Quincy will enjoy a heated barn in the winter. Automatic fly spraying in the summer. A padded stall. And an adoring new family, including seven other permanent horse residents, five or more horses boarding while they receive veterinary care, and 7- and 10-year-old humans eager to meet him.

His journey (in an air-conditioned horse trailer) to Massachusetts began on July 8, as did that of Kennedy, another caisson horse who was put up for adoption at the same time.

While Quincy had to leave the Army for medical reasons, Kennedy was dismissed because of discipline problems. His new owner will be someone who knows how to handle him: Carroll Urzendowski, a former caisson soldier himself.

The man and the horse reunited on Friday. Urzendowski left his solemn job at Arlington National Cemetery about a year ago; now he’s a sergeant first class at Fort Polk in Louisiana. He, his wife and their 3- and 4-year-old children now live on an 85-acre ranch in Roganville, Texas, about an hour away. When the family heard Kennedy was up for adoption, they instantly wanted to make him the first horse on their expansive property.

“Kennedy is interesting. Let’s just say he’ll take advantage of his handler if the handler allows him to,” said Urzendowski, 40. “It’s like raising a child. They’ll try to get away with what they can.”

He felt confident he could manage Kennedy; after all, he worked with him before. After a year apart, Urzendowski says, he’s going to have to teach Kennedy to trust him again.

Stroking Kennedy’s neck and back, Urzendowski points out signs that the horse is feeling relaxed and comfortable. His head is down. His lip is jiggling loose. He lifts his back leg, carefree.

Then Kennedy sticks his foot out of the fence. “Get your foot back in there,” Urzendowski says. Kennedy obeys. For a moment. As soon as Urzendowski glances away, Kennedy starts pawing the ground, which Urzendowski knows can damage the horse’s foot. “That’s a no-no,” he says, redirecting the horse. Kennedy stops, then starts again. Urzendowski distracts him again. A moment later, again. And again. Urzendowski remains patient.

“Start moving him, start petting him. You just have to give him something else to think about,” he says, unperturbed that the horse is again pawing away.

The platoon leader of Arlington’s caisson soldiers, Lt. Austin Hatch, said about 25 people applied to adopt Quincy and about 25 more applied to adopt Kennedy. A committee of five people, including Hatch, narrowed each pool to about five applicants, then flew around the country checking out possible homes for the horses in person. On those site visits, they selected the Whittakers and Urzendowskis as the lucky new owners of the retiring caisson horses.

“We want to make sure they go to the right homes, because they’ve done their work for the Army, and they’ve served the country at Arlington,” Hatch said.

Both families are keenly aware of the unique role the horses have played, and eager to honor them with a happy retirement. Urzendowski has seen the horses’ preternaturally dignified behavior at funerals – eight funerals a day, in every sort of weather – over and over as a participant himself.

To see a horse honor a service member like that, Urzendowski said, “It’ll put tears in your eyes.”

But the day the horses embarked on their next phase, was a happy day.

When the Whittakers arrived, Quincy greeted them right away and let Kristen rub his face. She caressed him, and told this newly minted veteran: “You’ve got your forever family now.”