Wild horses: BLM Backs Off Plan to Zero Out West Douglas Herd

story by Alan Prendergast of the Denver Westword

Habitat for Horses Advisory Council Wins One ~ Release Soon

There aren’t a lot of wild horses left in Colorado, but a small herd of mustangs fifty miles north of Grand Junction just got a reprieve. Besieged by legal challenges of its plan to relocate “excess” horses from public lands to private holding facilities and pastures, the Bureau of Land Management has abruptly withdrawn its latest proposal to remove the West Douglas herd — an isolated but hearty group of a hundred horses near Rangely that’s been targeted for decades.

BLM’s increased “gathers” of wild horses across the West in recent years have touched off protests and harsh criticism of Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar. The BLM insists that relocation is the only way to deal with overpopulation and increasing damage to natural resources; opponents insist that the roundups, which use helicopters to chase horses (sometimes to the point of collapse), are mostly unnecessary — and unnecessarily cruel.

In the 1970s, many of the horses captured in roundups were put up for adoption, but that program soon became overwhelmed. The BLM acknowledges that it now has close to 40,000 horses and burros in holding pens or private pastures, at taxpayer expense — more than are still left in the wild.

The tug-of-war over the West Douglas herd dates back to the 1980s. Cut off by road fencing from a larger herd years ago, the West Douglas bunch hasn’t multiplied quite the way BLM observers expected. In 2009, U.S. District Judge Rosemary Collyer halted one roundup, ruling that the BLM had exceeded its authority and failed to prove that the herd was overpopulated or consisted of “excess” animals.

The BLM returned with a new environmental assessment and another roundup plan last year, only to face a flurry of lawsuits from the ASPCA, the Cloud Foundation, and other animal welfare groups challenging proposed actions against the West Douglas bunch and another herd in the North Piceance area.

Now the BLM is saying it wants to take a “comprehensive look” at its wild-horse plans in Colorado. “This process will encourage participation from all stakeholders, and provide several well-advertised opportunities for public involvement,” declares a recent press release.

Does the new move signal a change of heart — or just a desire to generate more paperwork and demonstrable “public input” to pave a path around Judge Collyer’s ruling? Stay tuned. Meanwhile, the modest but enduring pack of equines in northwest Colorado can keep on roaming their historic range, in all their “excess” glory.

More from our News archive: “Wild horses in Colorado: ASPCA, other groups file suit to block roundups of two herds.”

64 comments on “Wild horses: BLM Backs Off Plan to Zero Out West Douglas Herd

  1. This is good news – that there is a reprieve for the remaining Wild Horses in Colorado. We can’t relax yet, though. There are so many more to save.
    The heartbreak is that we are not able to turn back the clock to UN-do all the tragedy so many thousands of Wild Horses and Burros have suffered, and many still do – the tens-of-thousands who are still in unnatural captivity / holding pens.
    We probably need to re-double the efforts, don’t loose momentum, press on till ALL roundups have ceased! Let, Keep up the good work, with diligence, everyone! Their very lives are depending on us!

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  2. The BLM has not “PROVEN” there are “EXCESS” herds ANYWHERE. They should be required to show video and photographs of the herds of “excess” horses from their flyovers in their EA.

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    • Hence the delay in our press release, there are a lot of factors to consider here…so stand by, we are still exploring all ways that we can be “backdoored” but hell, Denise, it’s out there so I have to say something for at least we effected change for the horses.

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      • The Goshute roundup is underway and Sun J has one 40 gallon plastic water trough for the horses just captured. It was on its side yesterday and empty while high winds blew alkali dust all over and Laura had a bloody nose from breathing it.

        This company can afford a good water system and they are required to have water for all the horses. Laura has repeatedly asked they fill this tank. This is blatant negligence and cruel treatment.

        I think Dean Bolstadt needs more phone calls. So does SUN J at their business address…. I think we have that… I will come back with contacts. mar

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      • RT totally off subject here. I have been completely overwrought the past couple of days as you have probably seen. And I missed wishing you and Terry a very happy Valentine’s day yesterday. So eventhough it’s late–I wish you a happy belated Valentine’s Day!

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      • The “DON’T !!!!” that somehow ended up under R.T.’s comment was intended as reply for Denise’s statement she doesn’t believe ….

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  3. The BLM’s definition of “excess” is anything over the AML , and we all know how those are set according to ranchers’ influence. They are set too low on purpose to cause the lack of genetic viability and sustainability.

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  4. R.T., I hope that you can recoup your legal fees under ” The Equal Access To Justice Act”. Great news for this little Colorado herd.

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  5. Oh if I hear one more time if this or that indicates a new direction or a new change of heart… It would be impossible for them to have a change of heart, since they don’t have one.

    And this is what every lawsuit from now on should be fought on:
    In 2009, U.S. District Judge Rosemary Collyer halted one roundup, ruling that the BLM had exceeded its authority and failed to prove that the herd was overpopulated or consisted of “excess” animals. And it should have been used in Antelope Valley. These horses are not excess there. The BLM is consistently exceeding its authority, ie., abuse of power.

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  6. The holding pens of our wild horses and burros are frightenly similar to cattle pens. As far as your eye can see, horses crowded together languishly hiding the horizon with their bodies. Waiting – waiting. Some with hope, ears up at the sight of an advocate, others head down knowing the time is not here. Keep on the fight. Do everything you can think of to poke the turpid beast!!

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    • Jan:

      You said…”The holding pens of our wild horses and burros are frightenly similar to cattle pens. As far as your eye can see, horses crowded together languishly hiding the horizon with their bodies….”

      My thought is, how could any person be surprised at a “cattle configuration and mentality”?….that’s all the killers are…meatmen, not horsemen living off the government dole and dimes.

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  7. Keep posting the news to us, RT – any type of “victory” is a shot in the arm to all of us and helps us pick ourselves up every morning with renewed determination to stop this situation and bring the people responsible for it to some sort of justice. We may not be as visual as the people in Egypt were, but we’re here for the long run and will continue to be here till this is resolved. We can’t bring back those that have died, but we can fight for those still incarcerated in pens as well as those out on OUR LAND, and stop this runaway freight train in our government called the BLM. I often wonder if a “tax revolt” might get their attention – without causing further harm to our 4-legged brothers and sisters? However, Phoenix is coming up and I have a feeling there will be a lot of 2-leggeds showing up in droves to convince the BLM, our government, and the country itself just how committed we are and how many of us there are! Blessed Be!

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  8. Its really something , We have all kinds of documented also Extremely Damning video evidence, and they have no proof of overpopulation ?????? Yet they continue this Farse !!!! I really dont Understand !!!!!

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  9. Thanks RT, this is a moment of good news–take a deep breath. OK now be vigilant– BLM also runs its “secret” round-ups–you know –the day before,the no-round up/ round up day. Just saying– Trust but verify. ( No trust). I saw the Ginger Kathrens video yesterday–a different view of the old mare falling, the helicopter hitting a fence post and the jutechute, horses crammed into the trailer, falling out,falling down– Hmmmm—looks like the same ol’ ,same ol’–the horses are fine until BLM takes them down. Tell me again why BLM puts “public horses” on private farms and I pay the cost of “boarding” them–but they were fine when FREE ROAMING??

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  10. R.T. and Terry, we all owe both of you a tremendous debt of gratitude. You have put a lot on the line to pay for this lawsuit. THANK YOU! You are right–we don’t dare relax and as Sue Charles said, PRESS ON.

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  11. Excellent news …. for that particular herd. Pabulum for the public, meanwhile the BLM continues unabated with their other sickening operations based on dishonest assesssments. Horses elsewhere are suffering everyday and throughout every night, frightened, confused, some injured, no appreciable protection from harsh weather, many getting sick and dying. Unforgivable! Neither the agency or their contract killers are changing and they won’t until they are forced to in some way. It is getting so infuriating to see what they are doing to the wild horses in Nevada right now that they are lucky they are out of range!

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    • Dear Wambli Okiye, Talk about infuriated , On Sunday Morning reading, about the Stallion and the mare being separated, and her fight to be with him !!!! Of all the Truly Rotten disgusting things the BLM and their LOW LIFE PILOTS have done to Our Beloved Wild Mustangs , that one Infuriated me the Most , I had all to do but try and keep myself from booking a Flight to that site , and Ripping their faces off, What a Huge Display of the ROTTENEST Thing to do !!!! I have been present when they call to each other, it is so bewildering and its absolutely the saddest thing to hear them, I sobbed for them for a long time , Then I got Mad !!!!! Wambli i am so tired of the BLM and their horrible actions and Assaults I could just scream…………………………….

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  12. I would LOVE to say this is an answer to all of our prayers & hard work, but a reprieve is only temporary. You can bet the BLM will charge full-steam ahead as soon as they get their green light. For now, these wild horses are getting a break, but, for how long? Yes, what an unforgettable, beautiful, awesome sight that would be, to see ALL the wild ones freed, released from their hell, running back to their homes, &, maybe, reunited with their families. I think we can all learn from the recent over-throw in Egypt. If a peaceful, national, large-scale protest could overturn 30+ years of oppression, why couldn’t it work here? Oh, didn’t we hear Obama saying something about “wasteful spending”?? Think BLM, UNnecessary wild horse round-ups, & subsequent holding pens, whether short or long-term, doesn’t matter, they are wasting OUR tax-payer dollars, & not doing anything to help the deficit.

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    • The only reason the Egypt protests worked is because the government shut down the internet where all the updates and info were posted and this forced people into the streets. Then media arrived, then international pressure. Nothing will change for our horses if we don’t get away from the keyboards and get into the streets.

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      • Then please come to Phoenix… we are hoping to have many things planned for us to do…

        Sandra has suggested a candlelight vigil for all those who have fallen… and that we bring blown up pictures of those who have died noting where and when and how they died at the hands of whom… I feel we need to Celebrate these wild ones and this and only this can help us heal and bring together those of us who can and will make a difference. This is on a higher plane now and we must use our creativity to express what this all means. We need to feel the history of this action… that we are shaping a future and we need to visualize it in order to reach it. Believe in it. Plan it. mar

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  13. For the Moment (also the name of a racehorse and jumper) this band has a reprieve. But BLM IS NOT TO BE TRUSTED. Ever. Just when our eyes are turned elsewhere they’re gonna jump on this band. I swear they will.

    If they were told NO once it meant that–NO. NO means NO. It doesn’t mean yes, or maybe if you ask me a thousand times I’ll change my mind. Judge Collyer was terrific standing up to the nasty bandits of the BLM. Saying NO and then a year later telling them NO means NO.

    If you haven’t seen Ginger’s latest video please visit her site. This video is tremendous. It’s graphic but tells the very ugly truth.

    The BLM is in it for themselves. They are an entity that looks out for themselves and their own pockets. Please don’t be misguided. There is no way a lower on the totem pole employee will ever find a Kennie Salazoo or Bobby boo boo Abbey guilty of a crime. Not only would he be reprimanded that employee would face years of harassment from Washington from all the offices.

    This is why we need Congress to act. Or one of the many reasons. Congresspeople have protections that many of us don’t have. Plus it’ll take an Act of Congress to once again tell the BLM THAT THEY CAN’T DO THAT.

    I have a strong sense of these people never been taught the meaning of NO. They act like grown kids–who as children set fire to the neighborhood kittie and were never caught. Now that they’re adults they still haven’t quite managed to learn from Michael Vick’s action what animal abuse is.

    Hhhmm here’s a thought. How about as part of pentitence Michael Vick actually talks to Bobby boo boo Abbey about video that’s gone viral about the abuse that he’s witnessed. About what is like going to the pen. And how it feels to be on the outside the scourge of many. I wonder if Bobby boo boo would like living in the pen??? Maybe he and Kennie Salazoo could make plans for Kennie’s zoo for themselves where we wouldn’t have to hear about them anymore once they got out.

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    • The BLM cannot be trusted as far as we could throw them, none of them have a usable brain in their heads………………………………….

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  14. GOSHUTE ROUND-UP–HORSES NOT BEING GIVEN WATER-ALKALI DUST!

    Mar Wargo (11:46:31) :

    I am outraged anew at this 40 gallon water trough which is on its side in the alkali winds. There should be half a dozen of these full at all times. Why are these contractors working without a good water system??? They make enough money to have as good as available.

    BLM, Get water to these horses. This is cruelty and negligence. mar

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    • More of the BLM s brainless tortures, Disgusting Low Lifes !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And Nobody in authority sees this??????????? Mindless……………..

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    • Yes, not only is it on its side and empty, they need to provide more than one so all the horses have easy access to water. This contractor violates just about everything. Let’s make sure this is their last stampede.

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  15. Why are they placing the trapsite in an area where they have to run the horses through alkali? If Laura got a bloody nose from it–what about the horses?

    Between that and NO WATER? And this contractor has been found not guilty of animal abuse? Unfreaking believable.

    I’m horrified that anyone would do this in the first place. In the second knowing that there are observers–it shows that the contractor knows he’s gonna be protected by Washington. They can do whatever they want because Bobby boo boo has indicated by his lack of manhood–that he won’t say ENOUGH.

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  16. I have to ask !!!!!! How is Simone Netherlands doing, I have heard nothing about her on here for a while !!! Just concerned about her !!!!!

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  17. HERE’S ONE–HELICOPTER PILOT WORKS FOR THIS CORPORATION:

    Sky Aviation Corporation

    1456 Airport Rd
    P.O. Box 51
    Worland , WY 82401

    Phone: 307-347-6138
    Fax: 307-347-6130

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  18. National BLM Wild Horse & Burro (WH&B) Program
    (located in the Nevada State Office)
    WH&B Management Specialist:
    Dean Bolstad, 775-861-6583

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    • Just emailed again Jane Valdez Michell the above Video of Rick Harmon, Pray that she views it and gets it on her show Pronto……………..

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    • Ginger’s video had some horror seens I had not seen before. I HOPE they can get congress to look at it. I just don’t know what this government is coming to.” The DOI is going tohell in a handbasket”

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  19. What I really don’t understand is CO is crawling with a overpopulation of elk…yet no culls or round ups of elk are being done. What is the BLM’s beef with mustangs? (pardon the pun)
    Do they really think these horses deserve unfair treatment and round ups because they are a ‘feral’ animal? Wouldn’t everyone be upset if Australia declared such a war on Dingos? Maybe I should start rounding up Starlings and Nutrias?
    I have to question– what is the point of herding up old horses, surly the average age of adopted horses is under 5 years. Why don’t we just round up young horses from the herds? Sterilize undesirable males – find a SAFE birth control for the mares and LET THEM GO. ( the current birth controls let the mares have endless heat cycles which cause the stallions to have to fight for, and over them, constantly- adding to stress on these herds)
    We need to manage these herds- not file them away to rot in pens. It just scares me to think we are so close to no herds roaming the wilds and all mustangs ending up on one way trips to slaughter houses in Mexico.

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    • Regulators can always up the number of hunting licenses for elk, bear, wolves…can’t let the American Public know that they have authorized public whacking of wild equines; ergo, we have the Cook’s, Cattoor’s and Sun J plus in hiding and sham after sham.

      Lord…I really hope the creeps and killers at all of the above mentioned companies and USDA/DOI are reading this blog!!!!!!

      We got ya’! It is just going to take enough waste and outrage to stop you.

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  20. to Jenny — so true. Too bad there’s not a petition to return Portugese water dogs to their homeland. (That would get some attention.)
    Here’s a place with lots of info: http//wildhorsewarriors.blogspot.com/2010/07/rehashing-battle-plan.html

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