Horse News

Evidence of Death Haunts BLM Wild Horse Concentration Camp

(The News as We See It) by R.T. Fitch ~ author of “Straight from the Horse’s Heart”

The Pain Continues

Skull in Corral at BLM's Litchfield Facility ~ Photo by Terry Fitch

We wrote on Sunday regarding the impact that visiting a Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Wild Horse Concentration Camp can have upon one’s soul.  The facility that we highlighted was Palomino Valley north of Sparks, NV where we were granted unfettered access and did not experience the feeling of being watched or guarded, unlike our experiences at the Litchfield facility outside of Susanville, NV…ground zero for the Twin Peaks Wild Horse extermination.

Litchfield is where the pain begins, it’s the location of the pre- dawn briefing where law abiding citizens hear a daily “safety” briefing where BLM authorities would threaten and intimidate, until we reported it, and then be escorted out to wherever the Cattoors have set up their most recent stampede traps.  Litchfield would also be our last stop on the way back to Susanville so that we could check on all of the lame and crippled foals that Sue Cattoor claims do not exist so that we could document either their progress or their demise.  But now that Litchfield is full of over 900 Twin Peaks wild souls, there is something more ominous about its past surfacing than of its future.

Weary and aging eyes, such as mine, might miss the subtle hints but the artful and intelligent perception of Horseback Magazine’s Chief Photographer, Terry Fitch, and fellow Correspondent Laura Leigh did not miss the fact that amongst the captive, living horses exists evidence of death.

Jawbone in Corral at BLM's Litchfield Facility ~ Photo by Terry Fitch

Not on one day but everyday Terry and Laura photographed images of a skull and then at another location, within Litchfield, a jawbone in and amongst the survivors of the Twin Peaks stampede.  At first it might not appear to be much of a big deal but as you process the information you have to ask yourself how this could come to be.  Did a horse die within those corrals and those that removed the body failed to notice that it had no head?  If we, as lowly taxpaying citizens, could see the remains why could the attentive government employees not detect it?  What is the quality of care being given?

Many unanswered questions but perhaps it explains the current paranoia that permeates the facility as the funding public is NOT allowed to observe the corrals without being under the watchful eye of a BLM employee/escort.  Nor were we granted fair and equitable access on site which is a clear violation of the First Amendment.

It’s another day; more wild horses will lose all that is lawfully right and guaranteed by Congress as Ken Salazar and Bob Abbey subvert the law but one thing is for certain and will not be twisted.  We are watching and we will prevail.

The eyes of the nation and the entire world are upon the misconduct of the BLM and will not be dissuaded by threat, rumor or innuendo.

It’s all about the horses.

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56 replies »

  1. All this evidence and no one in power does the right thing….just stomach turning.

    Hey, maybe the Prez should take the family on vacation to Pryor and then visit a few concentration camps for perspective.


  2. oh my gosh; bones littering the BLM Corrals; how could they leave the evidence of this out for the public to see? I am a state of shock; these truly are Concentration Camps for Mustangs and burros; where they starve em shove em stick em; sic em; flag em’ stress them injure them; deceiving the public into they save them !

    hardy har har…to the moon with the BLM’s “insanity and idiocy !

    ps there is a pix on net of BLM Palomino; where they forklift “a deceased foal right into a dumpster…PLOP ! there goes another foal ! Like John Neil said about lil one day: “i’ll take care of it…and went out and murdered the lil foal like as if he was picking up manure; HOW DID THE BLM HATRED FOR THE MUSTANGD BEGIN; IS THIS A GENERATIONAL THING BACK TO THE SPANISH AMERICAN WAR…where Spanish mustangs won ?

    Why is the Mustang the BLM’s most dire enemy; are they “nuts ?


    Proposed White Rock Spring riparian fence and associated water pipeline and trough
    The proposed action is to construct a maximum of 2600’ (five acres) of fence around White Rock Spring
    The proposed action is to construct a maximum of 2600’ (five acres) of fence around White Rock Spring
    The proposed action is to construct a maximum of 2600’ (five acres) of fence around White Rock Spring and associated saturated soils downstream from the source, as well as a buried water pipeline to supply a trough outside the fenced area.
    The need for the proposed action is to protect the spring source and associated riparian community from continued degradation by large ungulates, due primarily to wild horses

    White Rock Spring is located in the northern Butte Mountains in northern White Pine County: T25N, R60E, NE1/4 S12.

    The need for the proposed action is to protect the spring source and associated riparian community from continued degradation by large ungulates, due primarily to wild horses
    (and not the mineral mines that use tons of water daily; FOOLS !


    • Your comments are very astute. All very good points. If you sent them in letter form to Salazar, Congressman, President, etc, that’s at least one more vote for the horses. Your comments would have more power and credibility if sarcasm weren’t included.


    • The BLM has had this information for years ~

      Wild Horses — National Academy of Science field studies do not support the majority of claims that wild horses damage the environment. Responsible advocates understand that areas suffering from verified overpopulation are a different matter. Alberta’s wild horses endure a relatively low survival rate among foals. The climate is challenging and predators are abundant.

      Cows have no upper front teeth, only a thick pad: they graze by wrapping their long tongues around grass and pulling on it. If the ground is wet, they will pull out the grass by the roots, preventing it from growing back. Horses have both upper and lower incisors and graze by “clipping the grass,” similar to a lawn mower, allowing the grass to easily grow back.

      In addition, the horse’s digestive system does not thoroughly degrade the vegetation it eats. As a result, it tends to “replant” its own forage with the diverse seeds that pass through its system undegraded. This unique digestive system greatly aids in the building up of the absorptive, nutrient-rich humus component of soils. This, in turn, helps the soil absorb and retain water upon which many diverse plants and animals depend. In this way, the wild horse is also of great value in reducing dry inflammable vegetation in fire-prone areas. Back in the 1950s, it was primarily out of concern over brush fires that Storey County, Nevada, passed the first wild horse protection law in the United States.

      Rangeland Management: Improvements Needed in Federal Wild Horse Program RCED-90-110 August 20, 1990

      Public Land Management: Observations on Management of Federal Wild Horse Program T-RCED-91-71 June 20, 1991

      Wild and Free-Roaming Horses and Burros: Final Report. Committee on Wild and Free-Roaming Horses and Burros, Board on Agriculture and Renewable Resources, National Research Council, National Academy Press, Washington D.C., 1982

      The BLM KNOWS the horses aren’t to blame-they just want an excuse to get rid of them. Guess the horses are not valuable enough. $$$$$$$$



    The need for the proposed action is to protect the spring source and associated riparian community from continued degradation by large ungulates, due primarily to wild horses…

    oh I see; not by cattle sheep or off road suv? hardy har har…Anna

    hey nevada blm; watch out for the 500 mile desert motorcycle race


    • I think the basic question about this and other water development actions is, “Do we want water to be provided for the wild ones left on the range, and how should that be accomplished under “multiple use”?”

      At least the White Rock Springs fence system includes a trough. Of course, that trough may be used by not only wild horses, but also cattle and big game animals (which will have unfettered, year-round access to both the trough and the spring, since they can certainly jump the fence). Folks who exclusively support “wildlife” don’t want a trough. They want the spring completely fenced off from both horses AND livestock!

      My understanding is cattle haven’t spent much time at the spring since the previous pipe & trough system broke down. There is no public or private water right to the spring, but it’s on a grazing allotment, and the lessee is in favor of this action for obvious reasons.

      Concerns: What type of trough? Will it freeze over in winter? (The spring shouldn’t freeze completely and I don’t think cattle will be out there in winter, so the only animals impacted by a frozen trough would be the horses.) Will the trough be monitored and maintained on a regular basis? If the float breaks down or the trough runs dry, how soon will someone know it and make repairs?

      I don’t know if the BLM uses the type of solar-powered, remote monitoring the O&G companies use, but it would certainly be applicable to this site and others like it.


      • the times before cattle and atvs the springs were pristine. Yet there were thousands more wild horses.

        the blm has no common sense what so ever.


  4. Look at that gorgeous Appaloosa in the one photo. Why would no one adopt him if he were at an adoption site? How many of these beautiful horses are just penned up for life or worse, and simply forgotten about? I wish that I lived closer to these atrocities. Living so far away, in Pennsylvania, I have to rely on others for info on the Mustangs out West. I do however, own 2 adopted Mustangs. They are both loved and very well cared for by me.


    • He might not be adopted because he is one of 36,000 captive mustangs held by the BLM. Any one particular horse’s chances of being adopted are very slim indeed.


    • I am convinced that BLM wants no adoption, probably requires ‘too much work.’ I spoke with a women who had seen a horse that she wanted to adopt, had her application approved, she called the BLM to let them know she was coming to the adoption event at the facility and what horses she was interested in, she had two others she was looking at for her friend. I saw all the e-mails between them and the phone calls referenced. BLM assured her yes horses would be there. She arrived and they had been sent to long term holding. BLM manager she spoke with forgot to tell the pens. They even said to her “you should have seen them before they left, they were beautiful”. Horses with approved home are not excess horses yet they went to LTH anyway. She said get them back. She was told no, you need to take 40 and you can’t pick. This situation is beyond out of control.


      • 40 horse minimum? What’s that about, and where is it stated in a BLM policy handbook?

        This info is directly copied from BLM “Sales Questions”:

        2. How many animals are you interested in? (1 to 35) (35 & more)
        3. Preferred Sex: Mares ____ Geldings ____ Stallions ____
        4. Preferred Age: 11 to 16 ____ 17 to 21 ____ 22 and older ____

        No mention of 40 minimum. Also no option to request certain horses, but I should think that could be easily overcome if the BLM is sincere about getting horses to good homes. If (BIG IF) records are being kept properly, the necktag # should relate to the freeze brand, and each horse and its location should be able to be tracked.

        The feds (especially the IRS) can keep track of how many million people? Beside that, finding a wild horse in LTH should be a piece of cake!

        I also found this question and “request” interesting:

        “17. What is the intended use of the animals? Do you intend to resell these animals: Yes 􀂅 No 􀂅
        (All buyers are asked not to sell to SLAUGHTER buyers or anyone who would sell the animals to a commercial processing plant).” IMHO “ASKED” is pretty lame language.

        Another BLM website quote:

        “The BLM would like to bring the number of animals placed through adoption or sold each year into balance with the number that must be removed annually from the range. As a result, fewer animals will need to be maintained in holding facilities.”

        So three wild horses could have been in good homes and off the taxpayers’ roles, but are now in limbo (or worse), because a BLM employee DROPPED THE BALL?

        Riddle me this, BLM monitor!!!


  5. RT is the smell around these corrals so foul that no one would notice the added smell of rotting flesh? It is, after all, or should be a completely different smell.


  6. I’m so glad that you guys are out there as many of us can’t be. Thank you all! The horses will get the justice they deserve. The truth is coming out about the BLM and they will be called out on their horrible treatment of the wild ones. Bad Karma is a bitch!!!


  7. “The eyes of the nation and the entire world are upon the misconduct of the BLM and will not be dissuaded by threat, rumor or innuendo.”

    I cannot understand WHY more gov. action is not taken!!!
    The picture of that beautiful Appaloosa reminded me of Marguerite Henry’s book “Mustang: Wild Spirit of the West.” (written long ago about the fight of Wild Horse Annie) She says
    “One, an Appaloosa stallion, is a splended fellow with spots as round as polka dots. Already the Rangers have dubbed him Chief-Thunder-Rolling-in-the-Mountains.”
    You know most think the Appy originated here, but if you go way back (paintings) you can find Appy color, palomino, bay in the early Lippizaners, Andalusian, breeds. So that recent fella might be a direct decendant. There there are the Knabstruppers of today that are from Europe that are spotted.


  8. This whole situation is a total nightmare and something MUST be done before it’s too late! My God, how are they continuing to get away with this?! I’m just so thankful that we have these great people keeping us informed, although the tragedy of it all is so heartbreaking to see and read. Please, never give up until these innocent horses are free to roam, where they belong. They need us now more than ever!


  9. MUCH worse than for the public to see the remains of our horses left behind in corrals, but for the horses to see and to exist with these remains of their friends or family members, all this time, for deterioration to reach this condition!

    Haunting and constant reminders for those horses whose lives are still existent in this hell of hells, that there is no more future… no more freedom, or quality of life, or family unity all thanks to this corrupt agency who just manages for the sake of managing. An agency with no morals, no heart, no intelligence and no sense of respect for these animals, our laws, or the rights of the citizens of this country.

    Despicable, shameful and unlawfully sinful and completely inhumane.

    Why is the currant administration standing by and allowing this to continue on tax payers expense when it is completely intolerable and uneducated, uncaring and cruel, needless actions and behavior, on the part of employees of the citizens of this country?!

    Again, these are our horses, America’s horses and we do not want them treated this way! The horses of our Nation have done nothing to deserve the death and destruction that our government insists upon.


  10. I wrote a poem this morning that I wanted to share with all of you. Thanks!
    Everytime I hear the thunder
    I shake my head & wonder,
    Where have all the wild horses gone?
    Like the ancient Ghostdancers, remembered in spirit & song
    When the Heavens open up & cry,
    I think, why did such beauty have to die?
    Sacred Thunderbeings racing through the clouds
    Wild spirits never broken, no more fear, forever Free & proud.
    I am trying to stay positive, & keeping my hopes up for our wild horses, but at times, the sadness just overwhelms me.


  11. I spoke with Senator Durbin’s aide early this week. He is going to set up a meeting for me as soon as possible! He asked if I’d meet on a Saturday, and I said any day, any time! I too have sent many faxes and emails to Senator Durbin the past year, only to receive a very dated script about the BLM WH&B program back each time. This isn’t like him or his office. They are usually up to speed on current events. Senator Burris, who I’m sure you know is more than on his way out due to being appointed by Blago, sent a more knowledgeable reply. It’s really made me wonder – WHY?

    What is it about the wild horse issue and halting the roundups that causes a deaf ear on the part of the Obama administration and highly placed Democrats such as Senator Durbin? He and Obama have ALWAYS been advocates for animals so their inaction makes no sense. Is wild horse removal truly about oil and gas development and leases, concern that future pipeline accidents and/or pollution will be evidenced by wild horse deaths, a promise made to Salazar, WHAT? It is difficult to believe it is about creating more loss-leading cattle leases, but some have said the standing leases are being used as collateral for property loans. I know it is not about campaign contributions from the cattle industry or public lands groups. I researched that. But it is always “follow the money.” The public has a right to know!

    I am taking this action because it is the only POSITIVE thing I can do and I MUST do something! Will start tomorrow getting together the presentation from facts on this site. Lots to work with. Wish me LUCK!


  12. Thank you, Valerie.

    Your poem is beautiful and portrays hopefulness in this time of great oppression for these innocent, beautiful beings that deserve so much more than they are receiving.

    Your words symbolize what these horses are and what they so much love.

    Thank you.


  13. That is SHAMEFULL!! and I guess those bones answered my question of how often they scrape out those feedlots, put in fresh sand to reduce worms and disease. never huh blm?

    I’d say those bones IN THE PENS are good solid proof of neglect. ‘eh blm?

    please walk around the back , far back where they would drag out dead animals over the years? sure they didn’t always use renderers or burying them.

    from the ‘good old days’ before the peskie tree huggers and the internet to spread the word, theres a sea of bones out back of those places. pretty easy for an expert to tell a story of recent neglect from a hoof or bone.


  14. We saw part of the remains of a foal sticking out of a sand berm outside the Ridgecrest facility. I just figured it died, and they buried it. The sand berms are pretty high and wide. I never really thought of it as bad, though it was sad.


  15. Madeleine Pickens “Pony Express” has received about 27,000 letters and e-mails that she will deliver to the White House— and the date for signing etc. has been extended to Sept.10th.


    • So, by the 10th, there should be about as many letters as wild horses and burros the BLM says are left on the range. Mr. Abbey, I wrote a letter and I want the location of the wild one you’re “holding in trust” for me. A bay mare, if you please. Since you don’t seem to want to protect her, I guess it’s up to me. I promise to name her and keep track of her ’til the day she dies.

      BTW, I’d also like the whereabouts of my bay mare in LTH. I know I can keep tabs on two horses (maybe even three?) better than any government agency!


  16. Linda, (sorry my computer wigged and posted without telling me what it had in mind) Please let us know if you make any headway on getting the horses you had picked out to bring into your home and make safe. Everything you try to do with the BLM just puts you butting up against a brick wall–all the while these horses could have had a good home. GRRRR


  17. R.T. Isn’t it a conflict of interest with Salazar being a Cattle Rancher???
    I just read this, then posted that fact on one of the Wild mustang/burro posts. This reminds me of the old cowboy movies where the Cattlemen are fighting with the Sheepherder’s? What else do we know about this Salazar. Sounds like he’s from the south? Waaaay south. This $^^*($# person is a thorn in so many sides, I can’t believe it. Yet, he just keeps going along his merry way. Tar & feather is too good for the likes of him. Plus, these sadists that work for him reminds me of all the other sicko’s that brutilize our wild & domestic animals… I have been on the computer many hours every day for months for this cause. Bless those poor 100,000 a year that go to Canada & Mexico to be slaughtered. Just horrible. Shoot the damn horse in the forehead rather than let those (ugg) people get their greedy, blood soaked hands on them. I gave my horses to owners of large ranches, rather than worrying about the money or about my horses being meat on someone’s table in Europe??????
    Thanks for reading…. Needed to vent Marian E. Carlstedt Glass


  18. You think the President will go to one of these consentration camps and look at the horses,not on your life,he could care less what happens to them.He’s only conserned about his Muslim tower in New York.He is such a worthless President!


  19. Valerie, send your poem to your senators and to your representative and to everyone that you can think of. Your poem is beautiful and haunting. You never know, there could be someone in the government that actually has a heart.


  20. The Cloud Foundation ought to extend an invitation to the Prez and his family to the Pryor Herd area for an exclusive tour as another “vacation” spot for the family.

    I’m sure Ms. Katherine’s would give him a respectful ear full.


  21. The BLM is doing an emergency gather at Saylor Creek, Idaho. Apparently a wild fire broke out and all the horses’s wll be gathered. The pictures do show the land to be burned. The BLM is providing emergency food until the gather is completed.


      • It remains to be seen if these horses are placed back onto the range at any point. I don’t have much faith in that occuring.


      • For sure, and if they have a chance to go back it would be because they are an unplanned for number and there s no room for them and no extra funds for processing.
        Idaho folks need to get in touch with BLM and ask for their return. We could, too. But we seem to make BLM fall short of what we ask for. mar


      • Just my thought here…
        Wouldn’t it cheaper to leave the horses out and drop hay for them???? Cattoor’s are gonna get paid for this roundup and collect 350-600 dollars per horse.

        I realize that the land is burned. And there really isn’t any shelter left for dead of winter–but guess what Palomino Valley is???? A valley with a big corral and NO WINDBREAKS!!!! All the horses ask for is water food and to be left alone. Really is this so much to ask for?????


  22. “When he stood trembling with fear before the captor, bruised from falls by the restrictive rope, made submissive by choking, clogs, cuts and starvation, he had lost what made him so beautiful and free… One out of every three mustangs captured in south west Texas was expected to die before they were tamed. The process often broke the spirits of the other two.”

    J. Frank Dobi, from “The Mustang ~ Wild and Free”


  23. The end of the wildfire video is very important– the horses will be adopted out–and BLM will assess the situation to see if the remaining animals can be released. OK — we’ll be watching this one. And counting……….


  24. The fire in Idaho–were the wild horses the only wildlife removed? How soon will the wild horses be put back onto the range where they belong? Why the rush to adopt them out?


    • The name of the HMA is Saylor Creek. Nearly 200 wild horses call the Owyhee desert home. We must keep on top of this, why are they shipping them all the way to Boise?


  25. My daughter was given a Pryor years ago – he has been a wonderful and forever part of our family. When she was twelve I thought it would be awesome to adopt two babies and train them together. Realistically, it would be the last horse I could promise forever to at age 42. Our experience with the Burns Oregon BLM could not have been better. They have bent over backwards to help us and the many we refer to them after adopting. My daughter and I made the five hour trek over and rather than pick two we found two more for my brother and friend. We were escorted down to the pens, given plenty of time to see all of the horses. It was Feb., cold and a little mucky but it didn’t stop them from taking us down there. I picked the “ugly” one and when asked about our choices the wrangler obviously knew everything about each one – impressive. She assured me my pick would be beautiful someday and honestly it made no matter. It was his kind eye 0 that look and I knew I was a goner. They had a program to deliver and the following month two were brought – my “ugly” boy had to stay behind as he was a cryptorchad. Thankfully when checked a little later he had dropped, gelded, and delivered with the little black filly my girlfriend adopted. When I was there – all of the horses looked great and had plenty of food available. The staff was very careful and made us keep our distance so not to scare the horses. A mare had dropped a foal (in the winter) and they had her pinned up seperately to insure her safety. They also had two little colts (one we brought home for my brother) in the barn for weaning. So rather than one trip they made two and explained their care and history. We offered to pass out flyers for a local adoption and I often see people looking for their dream horse so I tell them about the Mustangs. Kim fell in love with a horse listed online and they delivered Chaos to the trainers. He was even used in a demo and was trained under the TIP program. Two years have passed and I must say they really do care about finding homes for these horses. They care about their care and most have adopted mustangs themselves. They are passionate about finding homes for Mustangs who no longer fall under the BLM program, and they are quick to removed horses who aren’t cared for properly. I have also seen the disappointment at the adoptions when the horses aren’t adopted. I guess my point is you can’t judge all BLM folks the same. There is good and bad in all the world. While I was there a new herd had been brought in. They had been monitoring it and were concerned about them making it. Those horses didn’t look so hot and they were genuinly concerned about helping them. It was very obvious they care. My heart breaks for the regulations and politics of the mustangs. We can’t just let them run wild without some care – their environment is limited as it was never before. As with all animals an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. I would like to see them limit the number of breeding animals to maintain the population rather than cull, I would also like to see all Mustangs adopted out are sterilized. Why have backyard bred Mustangs compete. I also agree Mustangs should be higher on the grazing priority list…. cheap cattle grazing should be secondary. I was told it used to be only a few mustangs were available and people were standing in line to adopt them. Not true today. Supply and demand and I hope we focus on the supply end of it to create demand. We love our Mustangs and I believe my ugly (not so little mustang) is the most beautiful horse in all the world. He has been a great blessing to me. Mustangs are the most amazing animals and the world may just be a whole lot better if more people looked deep into their dark eyes to clearly see the very soul of humanity.


    • Linda, thanks so much for writing this. Every time I see mustangs run into a trap or photos of them in holding facilities I wonder about their fates. From your story and others, I know that at least some of the wild ones have found loving, forever homes.

      And I’m happy to hear about your experience with the folks at Burns. I’m sure many of the BLM employees care about the wild horses and burros they’ve come to know. They also may share our concerns about many of the agency’s actions and policies, but their jobs depend on carrying them out. As more animals are stripped from the range, just keeping up is bound to put a strain on even the most compassionate and well-intentioned caretakers.

      I pray the animals in holding at facilities we aren’t allowed to see (or even identify) are being as well-treated as those at Burns, but how can we ever know?


  26. Well, I am amazed how people view events differently. The “Ranchers” visit to the BLM gather was quite interesting. My husband was one of the “ranchers” and believe it or not he and the other 2 were in fact ranchers, there be no need of quotations. That was the most spiteful and rude article about a serious event and well-intentioned people than I’ve ever seen. What is wrong with people having opinions from the other end. They went to see the gather as did you. They had every right to be there. Yes, they may have known some of the BLM – as ranchers and BLM do talk and they have both been in this area for years. Susanville is not New York. We know people who are involved in some aspect of our business. Just as the ranchers could have been upset that you seem to know the NY times guy. Neither my husband or the other two ranchers approached the NYT journalist. They talked to the photographer as he came up to them first. I am going to make sure that people with differing opinions see this web site. Oh, by the way I think the Ranger may have been under the tree because it was quite warm that day and he was what they call “shading up”. Your drama is disgraceful


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