Horse News

Judge Holds BLM’s Decision to Zero-out Colorado’s West Douglas Herd Not Ripe for Review

West Douglas Wild Horses Dodge Another BLM Bullet

A West Douglas Family Band ~ photo by Toni Moore

DENVER (Sept. 20, 2012)—A Federal court decision handed down last week gave the West Douglas Wild Horse Herd another reprieve. Honorable Judge Collyer held that she could not rule on the issue of whether the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) can zero out the West Douglas herd until BLM issues a decision to round up the horses. Plaintiffs contended that the Court could review and hold illegal BLM’s long-held land use planning decisions issued since the 1970’s and most recently in 2005 to eradicate the herd, especially in light of the fact that BLM has cancelled roundups of the horses once Plaintiffs challenged them in court—a classic example of BLM gamesmanship. The Court held, however, that the issue would not be ripe for judicial review until BLM once again issues a decision to round up the horses.

Judge Collyer’s order explained that the West Douglas Wild Horse Herd Area has been managed for oil and gas extraction, not for wild horses, and that this BLM management strategy is contrary to the Wild Horse and Burro Act of 1971.

In addition, the court saw fit to note that the wild horses of West Douglas are a separate herd from the Piceance/East Douglas herd, a herd on the other side of the Colorado State Highway 139.

“BLM claimed these herds were one and the same, and that removing the horses on the west side of Highway 139 would not jeopardize the ‘herd’ as a whole,” explains Toni Moore, a long time advocate for the preservation of the West Douglas Herd and a plaintiff in the case. “But BLM’s own historic documents concluded these herds were separate herd areas at the time the Act was passed, a fact that Judge Collyer did not miss.”

Lawsuits to protect the West Douglas horses, brought by Colorado Wild Horse & Burro Coalition, Front Range Equine Rescue, Habitat for Horses, the Cloud Foundation, advocates Don and Toni Moore with funding and support by the Wild Horse Freedom Federation, have been going on for years. These legal actions have successfully thwarted BLM’s repeated attempts to remove all the horses in the area for a litany of reasons, including the difficulty of managing wild horses in such rugged terrain, to inadequate forage to maintain a viable herd.

“Here is the crux of the issue: BLM wants to manage the area for welfare livestock and oil and gas extraction—not mustangs,” explains Ginger Kathrens, Executive Director of the Colorado-based Cloud Foundation. “They forget that a law prevents this from happening. Future attempts to zero out the horses will result in litigation to protect them.”

14 replies »

    • Prior to the Internet and the willingness of a large number of advocates to work together, the BLM always managed to outlast us. And they do have the advantage of being able to use our tax dollars to defend themselves against us. They double dip.


  1. HEY BLM! The LAW IS the LAW, maybe you’d better read it again! Oh and please share it with your cronies the cattle barons and the mining interests you seem to be so cosy with. You people need to learn HOW to read maybe?


  2. I think Judge Collyer knows what is going on, but also knows the corporate culture of Congress, the states and more importantly, the judicial system. I believe she sees the sham that is the “multi-use” baloney that is DOI et al.

    Any port in a storm, folks…any port. I also think this is good news…not all that the advocates want, but the wild equines of the Douglas area are hanging on by a hoof.

    I suspect Judge Collyer will very soon be under obvious attack. I hope not…but worry all the same.

    What I don’t understand is why this judge gets it and the others don’t. It scares the H*LL out of me watching this massacre of our Icons.


    • Exactly Denise!!!Why does this Judge get it and others do not???? very scary, I hope she stands with her conviction in Justice for the Mustangs !!!!!!!!!


  3. There is nothing hard to determine about the the Wild mustangs they belong here, they are as natural to our environment as the air we breathe , their lives have meaning and conviction to the environment , also not hard to prove , and it has been proven scores of times, whats the darn problem BLM , leave our Mustangs alone !!!!!!!


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