Horse News

Judge Rules Placitas Horses are not Wild

Source:  Albuquerque Journal

by Rosalie Rayburn,  Journal Staff Writer

Copyright © 2014 Albuquerque Journal

A state District Court judge in Bernalillo County has ruled that the feral horses roaming Placitas are not wild and therefore fall under state livestock laws.

The Placitas-based Wild Horse Observers Association filed the case in February seeking to stop the New Mexico Livestock Board from picking up horses from private property in the village under a law governing estray livestock. They asked the court to declare that the Placitas feral horses are wild.

Judge Valerie Huling’s ruling issued July 16 said the Wild Horse Observers Association “failed to demonstrate that the horses at issue are not estray livestock and that the (Livestock) Board acted outside of its authority under the Livestock Code.”

Jordan Beckett, the Oregon-based attorney representing WHOA, said the organization is considering filing an appeal by mid-August.

“New Mexico’s wild horse statute distinguishes between horses that are livestock and horses that are wild, and Judge Huling’s opinion fails to take into account this distinction that is inherent in the statute and she simply calls all horses in New Mexico – wherever they are they are – livestock,” Beckett said in a phone interview.

Placitas resident Gary Miles, who is caring for many of the free-roaming horses, said he disagrees with the judge’s ruling.

“I think the judge is way off base.  None of these horses has been raised on a ranch – they are wild horses,” Miles said in an interview.  “She doesn’t know anything about horses if she thinks these horses aren’t wild.”

David Reynolds, the attorney who represented 12 Placitas residents who intervened in the case to support the Livestock Board, called Huling’s decision a “victory for wildlife habitat in the Placitas area.”

“It basically said that the Livestock Board has jurisdiction over the horses,” Reynolds said.

Livestock Board Executive Director Ray Baca said he never had any doubt that the board was following the law, but the ruling answered questions for Placitas residents who capture horses that stray onto their property and call the Livestock Board to pick them up.

The horses have long been a divisive issue in Placitas.

The Wild Horse Observers Association has fiercely advocated for the horses right to continue roaming freely.

Other Placitas residents claim the horse population has increased so much it outstrips the ability of the land to support them. They say the horses are damaging public and private land.

“We have been at the mercy of these people who demand that these horses roam and ruin our public and our private property and they continually say we have no right to round them up,” said Placitas resident Mike Neas.

13 replies »

    • Sounds like Scottish accents – tourists? No idea how fortunate they are no one got kicked or bitten – standing in the middle! Walking into the midst of domestic horses in a pasture isn’t the smartest thing to do! How sad that this little herd will suffer for the people’s photo op! Of course these horses appear to be well used to contact.

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  1. Ok. The Judge ruling is a FARSE. Please investigate this and overturn it. FDA Mandates that ALL EQUINE ARE CONSIDERED LIVESTOCK AND PETS SIMULTANEOUSLY. Now there is Absolutely NO discretion or stipulation that Equine are Divided into livestock as feral….wild….or livestock….domestic. All of the Equine are classified as livestock regardless of wild…domestic …..feral in order to deregulate drugs…training…handling….etc. The judge just made a ruling that means Absolutely Nothing as all equine are Already classified as livestock. The play on words was to supposed to diminish the horses from the state of living they have existed in and that is Clearly NOT the definition of the term livestock. The ruling in effect means nothing and needs overturned immediately. The term wild is referencing the period of life the horse lives of its own will. The term feral is really only truth and fact when a horse completely tame runs into the wild. Only that one and NOT any offspring born in the wild is feral. After the horses are in the natural environment to the point they do not recognize human contact then they are defined as wild. The term feral ONLY applies to a horse clearly and noticibly owned with handling and full care and not left in a pre wild state. The term livestock already applies to the wild and feral and therefore the judges ruling is a moot and redundant ruling and before they destroy these horses they need to stop this ruling as itmay set a precident for killing wild horses. Livestock is a classification but does define natural….wild…domestic…or an Artificial Insemination horse born in a petri dish. The judge ruled in an area that has already been handled byvthe FDA ruling that even the AQHA fought for or you couldnt train a living horse without the FDA telling you how. So please someone with some gusto step in on this ruling and clear this up. As for the Placitas wild horses and the above comment…..if a horse comes to you it doesnt mean wild or not….what matters is someone cares about those horses bc the livestock board doesnt.

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  2. I was referring to the folks in the video – interacting with the horse’s they are not feeding or taking care of those horses – they have a bag of carrots and are looking for a photo op–and if one of those folks get bit or kicked we all know what will happen to the horses.

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  3. Nevada has the same problem. Land developers buy up chunks of land, build homes and people move to rural areas…..crowding out the Wild Horses, that were there FIRST. Then….some (not all) complain.

    This is one answer that a Wild Horse advocacy group in Nevada has put forth:

    WILD HORSE PRESERVATION LEAGUE
    Nevada Range Land Disclosure Form

    Click to access WildCountry.pdf

    A Few Things You Should Know Before Buying or Selling a Home in Nevada

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  4. This is another decision made by the same judge. t

    NEW MEXICO SUNSHINE PORTAL
    http://www.capitolreportnewmexico.com/tag/judge-valerie-huling/

    On Monday, District JUDGE VALERIE HULLING ruled in favor of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) union that argued the law creating the Sunshine Portal,
    which includes the job titles and salaries of state employees among other items of public information on the site,
    should not post the employees’ names.

    “The public deserves to know,” (Governor) Martinez said. “They’re the ones that pay those salaries … It’s unfortunate that that’s not possible [after Judge Huling’s ruling] and it has to be moved to another site.”

    After yesterday’s ruling, a number of open government advocates expressed their disappointment

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    • Really? Are you saying they are not wild? The NM Appellate Court and Supreme Court of NM seem to think they are…. Also the New Mexico Livestock Board tested them to be 91% 95%95% and 96% probability of being Spanish and 80% is the standard.

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  5. Ok so the judge says there’s no proof that they are where is the proof that they aren’t? Should that not have to be proven beyond a shadow of a doubt?

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  6. STATE OF NM-STOP SENDING ALTO WILD HORSES TO SLAUGHTER!
    http://www.change.org/petitions/ray-e-baca-state-of-nm-stop-sending-alto-wild-horses-to-slaughter

    Petitioning Ray E. Baca

    This petition will be delivered to:
    Executive Dir., NM Livestock Board
    Ray E. Baca
    Former New Mexico Governor
    Governor Bill Richardson
    New Mexico
    Sen. Martin Heinrich
    New Mexico-039
    State Sen. Phil Griego
    New Mexico
    Sen. Tom Udall
    New Mexico-056
    State Rep. Zachary Cook
    New Mexico-02
    Rep. Steve Pearce
    New Mexico
    Gov. Susana Martinez

    http://wildhorsesofalto.blogspot.com

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  7. These animals Just want to live freely they R a true GIFT. Its NOT R PLACE TO TRY N CHANGE REMOVE DESTROY SLAUGHTER ANY OF THEM. IT’S THEIR LAND B4 ANY OF Ours RESPECT THEM & LEAVE THEM ALONE. THEY DON’T HAVE2B KILLED FOR JUST LIVING. SHAME ON ANYONE THAT CAN’T APPRECIATE THEIR INNOCENT SWEET LIL LIVES.

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