Horse News

Second TRO Attempt to Stop CO Wild Horse Roundup Denied

(In My Humble Opinion) by R.T. Fitch

Case Headed to Court this Wednesday

I wrestled with how I would present this situation to our readership; should it be a press release simply stating the facts or one of my personal notes that could give readers some insight into the big picture and what is actually going on…with your indulgence, I opted for the later.

Not highly publicized but on Friday we filed a Temporary Restraining Order and attempted to stop the Bureau of Land Management’s deadly Piceanse- North Douglas roundup as the BLM’s contractor had choked down and killed a mare on Thursday, the preceding day.  The court issued a stern warning to the BLM but allowed them to proceed while on the very same day of our filing the BLM killed a 7 month old foal and 3 year old mare bringing their murder count up to 3 which is a total mortality rate of 10% of all horses gathered up until that date.

Once again, our legal team reapplied for a TRO on Saturday with a teleconference scheduled with the court on Sunday morning, again, we were denied.  A great disappointment for anyone with a shred of decency or a sliver of compassion for other living creatures but in the big scheme of things, this is why the order is denied…remembering that we DO have a hearing scheduled on this case Oct 20th…our preliminary injunction is arguing a much bigger picture and not only a temporary injection.  We are going after the failure of the BLM to do their business correctly by using outdated and inaccurate data as a basis for decisions to wipe out entire wild horse herds and their inability to clearly understand several major points of law including (but not limited to) their expressed assignment to protect these American horses versus destroying them.  We are focused on that big picture and so is the court.

The BLM has assured the court that the horses will be returned to the range should they lose their case,  the court is holding the plaintiffs to the letter of the law regarding damage due to the deaths of the horses and the everyday individual is saying, “Huh?”

That’s the way it is, we are only days away from a hearing and we cannot beat the court over the head with what we feel is right in our heart of hearts.  This is about law and not about emotion.  As wrong and painful as it may feel we need to move forward and argue the case at hand in an effort to expose the legitimate weak points in the BLM’s tarnished and mildew covered armor.

I, personally, consider ourselves to be lucky to have a judge that is not under the thumb of the BLM as it appears many western judges are.  Likewise, the fact that he is actively studying the issue is both important and enlightening.  We need to maintain the positive mind-setand stay in the “upper loop” as we move forward.

But at the time of this writing, at several locations in the western U.S., the BLM in their twisted perception of the scope of their responsibilities is stampeding and killing American wild horses.  Ken Salazar, Bob Abbey and Don Glenn have managed to get themselves so very twisted up into and in bed with so many varied special interests and political agendas that they no longer serve the greater good of the American people or the wilderness/wildlife that they are charged to protect.

Tomorrow is another day.  Wednesday is the day of the hearing and we are all crossing our hooves that for the first time in many years something positive will happen for the wild equids of the Unites States.  May their pain be diminished and the tax payers of the U.S. gain back just a small fraction of control over a federal agency that is running totally out of control with leaders who are, obviously, breaking the law.

We “tack-up” for yet another fight.

Keep the faith.

(Special thanks to Bruce Wagman of Schiff Hardin for his untiring efforts to be the voice for the horses)

42 replies »

  1. Thank you RT, Terri, Laura and to everyone else who is working so hard to try to get fair justice for our wild horses.


  2. Why is it that every judge refuses to issue a TRO? Even this New York judge is no different. Can you ask your attorney why is this so. If it is a legal technicality, then let’s correct it. Or is this another judge waiting for the roundup to be done before he rules? I fear the latter will be the case as in Tuscarora, et al. Thank you for diving into the cesspool for the horses.

    I was just reading some documentation on the Indian struggles against the gov’t in Nevada in the 1880’s – reads the same way. Has nothing improved in 200 years?


  3. Once again, thank you. This breaks my heart every day. I am sickened by the actions of our own government and the horse herders. Hard to think about and I know that you, on the front line on behalf of the horses, have to deal with it on a much deeper level. I am so sorry.



  4. When the Earth is sick, the animals will begin to disappear,
    when that happens, The Warriors of the Rainbow will come to save them.
    – Chief Seattle

    Go Warriors. Praying for you and the judge on Wednesday.



    A common representation of Justice is a blind-folded woman holding a set of scales. The origin of the Goddess of Justice goes back to antiquity. She was referred to as Ma’at by the ancient Egyptians and was often depicted carrying a sword with an ostrich feather in her hair (but no scales) to symbolize truth and justice. The term magistrate is derived from Ma’at because she assisted Osiris in the judgment of the dead by weighing their hearts.


    • Whoops, BLM registers -0 on the heart scale..but then knowing how they do things..they will adjust the scale so that it starts at 99..and not allow pictures of the scale to be taken….It is a hard slog to convince a federal judge that a government agency is wrong..but it can be done..WWP does it on a regular, and heart warming basis..


  6. Wednesday can’t get here fast enough. Keepin’ the faith in your team’s strategy, RT. I just have a really good feeling….


  7. We’re with you and though you carry such a heavy burden, our hearts and souls are with you. We will win, in a time and manner possibly not known at this time – but we will win.


  8. RT and Terry and company- I know you Will be taking this to heart but at the least you are there to do so as this remains to be heard. We are all behind you. Hang in there.
    Sending love and appreciation,


  9. This is still, in my mind, allowing the BLM to continue to proceed knowing that they are continuing to endanger the lives of these animals, to me is unforgiveable. Even though, Wednesday is right around the corner, how many more foals, mares, or stallions are the BLM and its contractors going to be able to kill because of this delay as we, the American people, want stopped. THis is insane. What has our government become. ANyone that accepts favors from individuals or companies, corporate giants should be disbarred if an attorney, and fired and jailed if an attorney or other individual. This has to stop. Apparently, these individuals do not have a conscience. How they can get up in the morning and look at themselves in a mirror is beyond me knowing that they are killers. Beats me.


    • Lynne, I agree with you so completely! My heart is very heavy knowing that this new Judge did not grant a TRO. I cannot understand the reason either. These horses are being killed. How heavy are their hearts on the scales of Justice. I think I prefer my Justice with a sword.
      Sorry. Wednesday cannot come soon enough. Good luck Rainbow Warriors.


  10. I always want to know why the wild ones MUST be removed and what plans are in the works, especially for “zeroed out” HMAs. In this case, I have more than a pretty good guess. It involves not only Piceanse/West Douglas, but the whole Basin, including South of Vernal. Cattle may be an issue, but the real threat to our public lands involves a whole lot of other things. It’s the same for just about every HMA across the entire West.


  11. Thank you R.T. and Terry and all who are hard at work. No matter the outcome, I have faith in you and gratitude for your efforts. I continue to hold out the hope that we will have some good news soon as I know you, on the front lines, need it most of all.


  12. Very disappointed, but not surprised that the TRO was denied. It was a true anomaly that Judge Hicks in Nevada issued a TRO when Laura Leigh first began filing on Owyhee last July…but then he lifted it when supposedly convinced by the BLM lies of there being a water shortage and the BLM claims that horses would die of thirst if not rounded up immediately. Ironically, in this first instance where a judge seemed to be sensitive to the suffering of the horses, the decision still went against us and the horses’ ultimate good–because the judge believed the BLM lies…or was it something more???

    Still right there with you guys, R.T…..we’re very familiar with this exact place.


    • Nancy, there’s GOLD (silver, copper, whatever) in them thar Owyhee hills. High concentration of claims on Little Owyhee, Snowstorm, Little Humboldt, Rock Creek. And it takes (and pollutes) allot of water to process gold through arsenic leaching, which is what strip mines do. Water for mines = no water for horses, wildlife, or, for that matter, people.

      Factoid: Mining Claim Filings
      Elko County – 36,000 in 2007, 45,000 in 2008
      Humboldt County: 30,000 in 2007, 32,000 in 2008
      This is just two counties in Nevada out of how many in the West?

      Haven’t found more up-to-date figures, but, with prices at an all-time high, I don’t imagine things have slowed down. Nevada is all about extraction and energy production. There may be high times for a while, but, ultimately, there’ll be a cesspool to clean up, and taxpayers will be getting the bill.


  13. RT I think I owe you an apology. I sent a letter to the BLM yesterday accusing them of killing the mare and unloading my feelings no holds.

    I hope in the grand skeam of things this isn’t going to harm any lawsuits. I was just so upset about the mare that I unloaded before considering that BLM might use this against the horses somehow.

    For that I apologize. But I don’t apologize for my feelings or unloading. Perhaps it would have been better to have written the letter and never sent it.

    In the end its about the horses. It’s about their safety and getting back their freedom. It’s about filing charges against those who killed this mare and abused her so unnecessarily.

    And Lily had it wrong. She was saying in her video that BLM has had a tough time explaining why things go wrong with the video. That it doesn’t tell the whole story. Well if that’s true–BLM should be telling the Chileans that cause they did an outstanding job of providing video from start to finish of that incredible rescue last week. A rescue that needed no words. And while I don’t speak a whole lot of spanish one didn’t need to to understand how those families felt getting their loved ones home.


  14. Just as sure as the sound of free hooves reverberating off the plains of the valley of death are dying into silence; The Mustangs keep paying; the Law keeps playing the same tune and the Faithful keep hoping that it will all end.. Sorry I am so negative; People of the faithful, The Mustangs are the losers; The BLM uses every angle that the best of the best of the con artists use and it don’t take a rocket scientist to see this… The court room has the BLM rep there but the Death Runs are still going on…Every week there are thousands less and Yes they will release them after they cut and sterilize and hold back the few foals they have till they can be sterilized… BEAT YOUR DRUMS SLOWLY FOR THE MUSTANGS DEATH NEAL… Ask the native elders; their people and way of life was obliberated this same way by this Same Goverment; it was just different players then but it was the same result…Extinction for the free.. Annilation for those that resist…


  15. Recently I reviewed the recommendations the Public Lands Foundation sent to the BLM/Salazar. Their plan includes moving a set number of wild horses off their HMA’s to different ranges (Salazoos anybody), sterilization, loss of federal protection, and sale of the excess “without restriction”. Many members of this group are former BLM, probably some of the same folks who profited from the sale of wild horses to slaughter during the 90’s and went scott-free. This is a worst case scenario of what we could face without our warriors and supporters in congress.

    These recommendatons show the mentality that BLM employees OWN public land as well as refuse to “share” the space with anything of which they do not approve. I am beginning to think of it not as public land, but as “federal land.” That’s what it is when there become vast areas where nary a plant or animal of any type can abide. As they change these vast areas over to “green” projects, I wonder why we aren’t hearing from the people whose property values will be ruined, who couldn’t sell their property for a pittance of its price? When will they wake up and realize what’s being lost?

    Even though the TRO was denied, our best chance is still New York. Congrats to our warriors for bringing this well thought out suit and to the ASPCA for upping the ante. The BLM is well outside its “comfort zone,” with a judge that hopefully they will be unable to control, and I’m loving it!


  16. Can anyone here, in very simple language explain the judge’s decision to deny the TRO?

    Is it because of what the suit is specifically asking for is not consistent with a restraining order?…the TRO need/justification cannot be substatiated?…it is not relevant to the original suit? Seriously, I am confused and would like to understand why TROs aren’t granted…what’s the burden of proof or request we need?

    Hang in there, for sure and Wednesday can’t come soon enough.


    • In order to grant a TRO to stop an action, the judge has to look at the initial complaint and be able to say,” i think you will win this” without even hearing the evidence..that is a tuff burden to meet. You and I know the consequences of what will happen to the wild horses if it goes forward, the judge does not


  17. I know we will win some day. I just hope there are some horses left un-tortured to benefit from the win. It is so hard to see such beautiful and unique animals loosing their freedom and worse their lives.

    R.T., you and those fighting with you are doing a great thing. I wish we could all be in that court room Wednesday. I’d love to look those killers in the eye and let them know what I think of them. If looks could kill, I’d practice that one 24/7.


  18. There is a picture of a beautiful rainbow on Laura’s ART AND HORSES site–in direct contrast to the ugliness of the Bureau of Land Management’s brutality.


  19. Listen well as we always do to RT…it is hard to maintain when beautiful lives and freedoms are lost…but we must continue to trot on…
    I have two questions, who is the contractor? I know the Cooks contract has not been renewed and BLM had hired a new contractor, but have not yet found out who they are.
    And with this happening, who is the BLM agent who supervises the contractor?
    All pieces of this massive puzzle….


  20. Capitalism run a muck when greed and influence overpowers the will of the people. BUT capitalism runs on energy and energy is running out so capitalism is in its death throws and is severing our mountains, fouling our oceans and air, fracking the land in hops of fueling its appetite. In the end it will be the calvary that takes back freedom. For in the end the only energy source known by man for thousands of years powered simply by grass will mount a charge.


  21. Words cannot express my gratitude to you RT and the many others that continue to fight for our beautiful and defenseless wild horses. Through your efforts, you give us hope and I pray justice will prevail for the future of these iconic and majestic creatures. Thank you.


  22. The greedy guts will hang on to the bitter end, but to no avail. What we are seeing is BIRTH PAINS and we are all right in the middle of it, so it is very hard to see and it is easy to become discouraged. There is MORE going on all over the globe than any one of us can see, but you can SENSE it.


  23. R.T.- Our hearts are hurting, but we are trying to keep the faith. Thank you for keeping us motivated and allowing us to follow you into battle. We are your faithful troops. God bless you.


Care to make a comment?

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.