Horse Health

Who is the contractor for BLM’s Scott City, KS “Emergency Short Term Holding facility?”

by Debbie Coffey, V.P., Wild Horse Freedom Federation                 Copyright 2014                    All Rights Reserved.

75 wild mares died in a very short amount of time at BLM’s emergency short term holding facility in Scott City, Kansas.

12LTH1_26_of_161_ (1)

Mares look at the public on a BLM tour of Long Term Holding pastures in Kansas. (photo by Carol Walker)

The BLM awarded the contract for an emergency short term holding facility to Phil Jennings, who has the contract for the BLM’s Pauls Valley facility in Oklahoma.  Jennings has had contracts with BLM since 2005 for Pauls Valley, and the obligation amounts seemed to be mostly in about the $100,000 to $300,000 range.

The BLM Scott City, KS emergency short term holding facility contract was signed 6/4/2014, and the obligation amount is $2,030,000. Yep, that’s a jump to over $2 million dollars.

But Jennings is in Pauls Valley, Oklahoma.  That’s about a 400 mile drive to Scott City, Kansas.  It seems Jennings may have LEASED the feedlot run by Beef Belt, LLC in Scott City, KS.  So, in essence, BLM’s contractor hired a subcontractor.

(Does that seem to make Jennings a very well paid middleman?)

If a contractor leases a feedlot from what is in essence a subcontractor, then the subcontractor has no direct contract with instructions and obligations to the BLM, does it?  Did any BLM personnel give written instructions and obligations to Beef Belt, LLC, which was formed in 10/1/13 (just 9 months prior to getting this windfall of business)?  Or.was it only after 70 horses died, that the BLM finally seemed to get concerned or involved, and give instructions about the feed?

This was in an article on

“The manager of the corral, Steven Landgraf, one of the owners of Lakin Feed Yard, which specializes in corrals just like the one in Scott County, denied any wrongdoing on the part of the staff at the corral.

“We did our best to take care of them.  It is not like we did not do our job,” Landgraf said.  “As animals get older, they die.  The animals that have died have all been between 19 and 20 years old.  It is a fact of life; how do you say this without being cruel?”

Landgraf explained further that the organization has cows and buffaloes that die there frequently.

“It is normal to have 4 percent or 5 percent of deaths with cattle, so this does not really count as out of the ordinary,” he said. “There were 1,490 of them that came in, and, if these few died, it shouldn’t be such a big deal.”

(He also added “I have a cow herd. When the cattle get to be this old, we sell them so they can be turned into hamburger.”)

Well, Mr. Landgraf, you may not have noticed yet, but this is a REALLY BIG DEAL to the American public.

And about all the buffalo and cattle that Mr. Landgraf mentioned that died on the feedlot, doesn’t it make you wonder about the condition of the soil and any possible toxins?  Did the BLM even do any soil tests or an Environmental Assessment for this feedlot before putting wild horses on it?

The article also included quotes from Paul McGuire, BLM’s public affairs specialist.  It stated “According to McGuire, it is part of the contractual arrangement that if there are deaths on these private holdings, they must be reported immediately.”

But how long after the deaths was it before the BLM notified the public?  The BLM buried this vague “notification” in their “From the Public” page on the Wild Horse & Burro Program website:

Question: Does the BLM ever move animals from a long-term pasture to another holding facility? If so, why? (July 2014)

Answer: Yes, BLM moves animals from long-term pastures to other facilities if the long-term pasture can no longer accommodate the animals. Examples of when this would occur include:  
1.  If a contractor sells the ranch and the new owner does not want to manage for wild    horses.
2. If a contractor has lands recovering from drought and wants to remove grazing animals or decrease their numbers to aid in drought recovery.
3. If market conditions change in the livestock sector such that the contractor identifies a more lucrative use for the land.
Depending on the capacity of the facility needing to relocate animals, the number of animals being relocated can range from a few hundred to a few thousand head.
The majority of animals that have not been adopted are held on long-term pastures. Long-term pastures provide a free-roaming environment for the animals and it costs less for the taxpayer to house animals on long-term pastures than at short-term holding facilities. With long-term and short-term facilities nearly filled to capacity, the BLM is currently seeking new short-term and long-term holding facilities.”
Uh, this didn’t mention that even one wild mare died at Scott City, did it?  And how many of you comb the From the Public” page on the BLM’s WH & B website on a daily basis?
Finally, on 8/15/14, the BLM posted a news release on their “News & Information” page of the WH & B Program website.
The BLM’s Wild Horse & Burro Program website  “From the Public” page is also where the BLM seems to have buried the last “update” on the ongoing investigation into Spur Livestock selling wild horses to kill buyer Joe Simon by stating:
Question:  What is the BLM’s response to allegations regarding wild horse sales to a South Dakota long-term pasture contractor, known as Spur Livestock, in 2008?
Answer: The BLM cares deeply about the well-being of wild horses and burros, both on and off the range, and takes seriously all accusations of the slaughter of wild horses or burros.  These accusations have been forwarded to BLM Law Enforcement, which is investigating.  The BLM will share the findings of the investigation once it is complete.
And also, about the ongoing investigation of Tom Davis, prolific buyer of truckloads of wild horses that went who knows where:

Question:  What is the BLM’s reaction to allegations regarding horse sales to Tom Davis of Colorado, as reported by Pro Publica?

Answer: The BLM condemns any sale of wild horses for slaughter.  We care deeply about the well-being of wild horses, both on and off the range, and it has been (and remains) the policy of the BLM not to sell or send wild horses or burros to slaughter.  We take seriously all accusations of the slaughter of wild horses or burros.  The Office of the Inspector General at the Department of the Interior has initiated an investigation into the situation and will work in conjunction with the State of Colorado throughout its investigation.  We look forward to the results of that inquiry.  Anybody that is found to have violated the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act should be held accountable.

We’re still looking forward to results of this inquiry, too.  And we have been for a long time now.  May we all live into our 100’s, so we can finally find out the results.
Bottom line, if the BLM had left these wild horses on their (supposedly) “federally protected” Herd Management Areas where they belong, the wild horses, especially older, more vulnerable ones, wouldn’t be getting shipped all over the country, stressed out, and having to adjust to different feed.

53 replies »

  1. Oh … but the BLM states over and over and over that they “care deeply about the well-being of wild horses”. BS!!!


    • BS is right. They could care less. The WHBA has been amended so many times, allowing them to do whatever they want. The only way something will be done, is if millions (which is why the act got passed in the first place) contact the government and let them know we have had enough. Our government is run by the corporations and they make the decisions and ignore the people. Issues are brought to light by those who care, but it isn’t enough. They slowly get pushed under the rug and ignored. We have been watching our wildlife suffer for years because of the livestock industry, extraction industry and hunting interests. We can bitch and moan all we want, but nothing will happen unless our voices become loud enough and numerous enough to be heard.


      • In order for our voices to be heard, every single wild horse and burro advocacy organization, no matter how active or successful, must cast aside their differences and UNITE to form one massive and powerful voice. Ego, glory, power, self-righteousness, and basic personality differences must take a back seat to the welfare of our wild ones. Period.


      • I totally agree!! We must all band together (including various orgs.) despite any minor differences that we may have… Would it be possible for all of the equine-welfare non-profits to band together for this cause? I know that we have talked about having a huge concert (such as Willie Nelson does for Farm Aid),. Can anyone think of our most powerful leaders to push this forward? I can think of a few, no doubt. And I also know that they could count on us “believers” to devote our time & effort to back them up!! I know that it takes & huge amount of time & devotion to organize something like this.. But we must do something ASAP, before the innocent ones become extinct!! Count me in!!! We need to REALLY expose the misguided agency, THE BLM!!!. & get our Gov’t to call a moratorium of these insane round-ups. Someone needs to be accountable for the deaths of so many innocent horses, whether in the holding pens, or living in the wild..(protected by law)? A joke, no doubt?? Thanks to all of the previous comments from the people who truly care about the innocent ones.. Just makes me feel more determined to fight the fight ahead & save all horses from slaughter.. Many UGHS!!!!


  2. Whether the BLM is attempting to deny responsibility for
    neglect of wild horses by pinning it on a subcontractor or not, they remain responsible ! Either they allowed 75 wild horses to die because of criminal incompetence or they were deliberately signalling to the American public the following :’we think wild horses are destined for nothing better than slaughter that is why they were allowed to be sent to a slaughter feedlot’. In the latter case they are guilty of criminality in deliberate neglect of animals in their care and of criminal contempt for the American people !

    Liked by 1 person

  3. don’t those repeat, repeat,repeat ,letter and statements sounds very much like the one before, and the one before that. can’t vickery do some indepth investigation reporting ? why do we have to take their word for this crap they want us to swallow this with all that we know about this , who do we go to, and what else can be brought against these people . where are the judges with all their ” imparcal ” verdicts in all this . what about the new mexico the guy running for governor gary king is it , aren’t the horses being funneled through his state ,too. what is he doing about that ? rt had that article yesterday about the slaughter of OUR HORSES what about that ? with respect is not getting us any place and there are to many nasty little hands in the basin ,how can we cut those hands off ?
    get this it was on the news in d/fw yesterday that a canadian offical is in trouble with their form of eviramental services that in his vacation home . he used building materials that could damage the fish on the part of the coast that his v/home is on. COME ON REALLY, I WAS JUST DUMBFOUND !! is that all they could really be worried about ???? how stupid !!!


  4. sorry i’m back in the wild what is life expectancy for these horses? if this stupid azz is comparing horses to cattle and buffalo ?????? nothing the same can be compared , so why in the hell is this man even involved with them???? lots more questions than answers so when can we expect answers ??


    • Cindy, the most likely reason the horses would die suddenly is a change in forage. The horse is dependent of the organisms that live on the plant to break down the food in the horses gut. So if there is new forage with totally different organisms living in the hay, then the horse may not be able to break it down.


      • that is so sad , why could they not havebeen left alone in the first place . they should have their families back and on the range for us to enjoy as they run the hills and valley’s. please don;t let them take these others in wyoming . i hope against hope the judge will see the wisdom of these horses in their rightful home and charge these ranchers dearly for their stupidity .


  5. Here are a couple of places you can take this information….to the Kansas media. This reporter has shown an interest. It’s a good guess that people in Kansas don’t know a lot about this or the Hell that these Horses have been made to endure, OR…the fact that they should NEVER have been removed from their Legal Herd Management Areas in the first place.

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    • Well, THIS Kansas girl knows all about it & is an advocate! My heart has been broken over & over for these horses. First, when they were taken out of the wild, then when they were moved to SC & now again for those who have died! I’m worried sick over the ones left out there; wondering how many more will die & what drastic actions the BLM will take in response. I WANT THESE HORSES TO BE FREE. But if they cannot be free, I want them to be in the least restrictive & appropriate environment possible, where they can be cared for by people who will honor their history & who deeply love them.



      • Cristin, it looks to me like the way to do it is to buy a $2 million dollar contract fair and square, like Mr. Jennings seems to have done. Is it public information if he was the only bidder here, which could explain the incredible cost spike from prior contracts of similar numbers of horses?


      • Cristin, thank you so much for caring about these wild horses. Debbie Collins is now listed as a “marketing specialist”, so please contact Debbie Collins at or (405) 790-1056.

        Normally, you would contact Sally Spencer, the BLM’s “Supervisory Marketing Specialist” at or (202) 912-7265. But she may be tasked with another assignment at this time, per BLM’s Debbie Collins (BLM PR person).

        I think wild horses from long term holding are usually only sold by the truckload, so that would be about 32 horses per truckload. I’m not sure, but you may have to arrange for the truck to pick the horses up. Please let me know once you contact Debbie Collins. My e-mail address is Thank you!


      • Cristin you should be able to buy the surviving mares for $10-25 each w/ title. That’s what the blm sells 3-strikers, and those too old to be eligible for adoption for to killbuyers. I don’t believe these are ALL old mares. This whole situation is extremely “fishy”. First thing that popped into my mind, was PMU contract. Please keep us posted.


  6. OMG alll the mares are looking at us, they do not need to say a word we know what they are saying just by the way they are looking at us, Please save us Please !!!!!!


  7. My Hackles go up when I read all these Fatalities
    Im thinking the water supply
    Where is the supply and could it be Fracked
    Im hearing isolated stories throughout the US
    About giving Animals fracked water ~ Utterly Insane
    I wonder if we are looking at this wrong
    is it the land or is it the Water thats the Problem Here
    I see a complicated situation here
    Given the amount of Animal lives lost here
    There should be an in depth investigation


    • Marcie, since there are other animals there this seems unlikely. My suspicion is some contaminant in the bunks which are normally fed to cattle but which are highly toxic to horses. It fits the apparent lack of concern by the USDA vet about anything spreading among other animals, and also the decision to euthanize more horses as they were dying a slow and painful death by some sort of poisoning. The corral managers probably had no clue about this situation until more than a few horses dropped dead.


      • Since horses, especially wild horses, do not belong in a feedlot, it’s entirely possible that the more dominant horses prevented the more submissive horses from eating and drinking.


  8. This is so like the Nebraska 300 ! This too was a place full of bones ,dead and dying mustangs . Only thru chance was Jason Meduna found out. He was their caretaker and their executioner. The BLM just wants the horses gone the sooner the better.

    The only weapon we have is the media and luck. If enough of the people find out what is going on then Maybe help will come . Believe most of the general public still has no clue !


    • Most people don’t have a clue about anything going on in this country — or they would be outraged about more than just our horses.


      • Dear Geri , can we buy Tv time !!!!!! There are thousands of us, if we all are outraged enough, maybe we all could contribute even just $5.00 each this would be more then enough !!!!


      • Arlene—I would gladly give money for TV time, but where, in which state?
        About 5 years ago, we have a large horse park close to me, horse people there every day – also have the famous Westernaires just as close the other direction—went to both places hung up fliers and handed out fliers, talked to people—trust me— I found they really don’t care if it does not effect them personally—and for the life of me I can’t understand why. Have we really become that much of a ME society? That may answer a lot of questions.

        Liked by 1 person

    • No Jason had a contract, went over to another website and begged money from decent hard working people. He chose to pocket all the money and didn’t once lift a finger to feed the horses in his care.

      There is something wrong at these corrals. Whether it’s food that the horses aren’t accustomed too or bacteria left behind from other livestock I don’t know. It could even be that not enough was given and the less dominant horses basically starved and then “over ate” once they had access to hay (colic possibly which could’ve set off another chain of events).


  9. Home on the Range?

    Here’s what looks like it may be the new home of our wild mares: the feedlot at 1350 E Rd 70, Scott City, KS 67871, United States.

    (NOTE: Beef Belt Feeders, Inc., of Scott City KS may or may not be connected to Beef Belt, LLC, which sells livestock equipment, also of Scott City KS… Beef Belt LLC has a published address thus: 4851 S Highway 83, Scott City, KS 67871
    (620) 872-5306) (Source:

    Beef Belt Feeders Inc
    1350 E Rd 70 Scott City, KS 67871
    KS 67871

    Hours of Business:
    Mon – Sat: 7am – 5pm
    Sunday: 7am – noon

    Scott City, KS Feed Store
    Beef Belt Feeders Inc 620-872-3059
    Beef Belt Feeders Inc is your full line Purina and Suthers dealer in Scott City, KS. We offer quality animal feed products at reasonable rates. Our knowledgeable staff is here to make recommendations based on your farm or lot’s needs.,++KS++67871&aq=&sll=42.258191,-71.802263&sspn=0.043769,0.077162&ie=UTF8&hq=Beef+Belt+Feeders+Inc+1350+E+Rd+70&hnear=Scott+City,+Scott,+Kansas,+United+States&ll=38.378336,-100.882301&spn=0.026241,0.073385&z=14

    Here’s a source which evidently links the feedlot and feed company and a chart which indicates it is in a single location:

    Beef Belt Feed Lot & Feed CO
    Beef Belt Feeders, Inc,
    1350 E Road 70
    Scott City, KS 67871 – View Map
    Phone: (620) 872-3059

    Beef Belt Feed Lot & Feed CO
    A privately held company in Scott City, KS. Is this your business?

    More Details for Beef Belt Feed Lot & Feed CO
    Categorized under Livestock Feeding. Our records show it was established in 1969 and incorporated in Kansas. Current estimates show this company has an annual revenue of $20 to 50 million and employs a staff of approximately 20 to 49.

    Products or Services
    Companies like Beef Belt Feed Lot & Feed CO usually offer: Animal Feedlots, Beef Cattle Feedlots, Beef Feedlots.

    David Duff

    Leah Jennison
    Finance Executive

    Beef Belt Feeders, 1350 E. Rd. 70, Scott City, KS 67871; 620-872-3059; beefbelt@; capacity: 12,500

    Click to access RE_31-47.pdf

    Family business it seems, more Duffs with Scott City feedlot enterprises:

    Beef Belt Feedlot, Inc.
    Charles Duff – Scott City
    (316) 872-3059
    Capacity: 12,000 head

    KFY-Division of Beef Belt Feeders
    Craig Duff – Scott City
    (316) 872-2660
    Capacity: 6,000 head

    This site mentions Beef Belt Feeders, Inc. whose President is Charles Duff and the Secretary is Craig Duff. David Duff is listed as an inactive “owner, board of directors member, or vice president.” It shows a Dun and Bradstreet profile which was (surprisingly) refreshed June 23, 2014

    It also mentions Beef Belt Feeders, Inc. has an alternate name of Beef Belt Feed Lot and Feed Co. D & B credit reports are available for five iterations of businesses using the name Beef Belt in some form, all in Scott City, KS.

    The Wall St. Journal reported a year ago about how Beef Belt Feeders, Inc. (visitors welcome) had become unprofitable and one feedlot was up for sale (along with Bison meat). It also mentions David Duff sold off his cattle last summer and shows the empty pens adjacent to the bison, which appear to be the pens our wild horses now occupy. One caption declares “there are too many feed yards chasing too few cattle.” A two million dollar contract would seem to be a windfall for Kansans.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Icy Spots, Beef Belt, LLC is a different company and I think may have different ownership than Beef Belt feeders, but only a “registered agent” is listed on Beef Belt LLC business records.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Debbie, I mentioned that but it’s clear Beef Belt LLC and Beef Belt Feeders share the same address in a small town (just under 4,000 people). This address also is the precise location of a feedlot holding Bison and a lot of empty pens according to Google Earth. The abundant business names sharing similar addresses, names, and officers gives me pause, which is why I posted what I found. A fat BLM contract was surely welcome in Scott City’s emptying feedlots. Which one must realize, also have no shelter or shade whatsoever, they are nothing but flat open bare corrals with feed bunks designed for fattening cattle.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Debbie, does anyone know what happened to the 400-600 geldings that were removed from the same LTH facility as these mares? Not a peep about them.


      • LNorman, I got wind of the arrival in CO of 7,000 horses recently… third hand news but a possible explanation of where some horses have been moved.


  10. I have not read on here any where, that anyone has actually seen dead horses and since there has never been any reports that they did any follow up on why they died, 75 horses is a nice number to disappear to mexico.


    • I estimate it took around 50 single decker semi trailer loads to move all these horses so it isn’t hard to imagine just 2 loads could have been sent elsewhere. How would we ever know?

      I’m also curious how the feedlot help knew all the dead horses were between 19 and 20 years of age since it gets difficult to be accurate as they get older. Were all these mares inspected and Identified as, say, 10 year olds in their original records? Were dental exams performed on those found dead and those euthanized? (not likely). Domestic horses when well cared for are no longer consider geriatric at age 20 and typically reach ages of 25-30 if their teeth hold up.


  11. Emergency? The timelines printed here suggest the BLM had three months to relocate horses, and many died UNREPORTED for 45 days or so. (I hope the meat they are selling there is being tested for horse DNA):

    Paul McGuire, BLM spokesman, said the agency was notified in March that the owner of the open pasture near El Dorado, Kansas, would not renew its contract. So, in June, 1,493 animals were moved from the pasture to a corral facility near Scott City, Kansas, McGuire said. In August, the corral facility’s contractor notified the BLM that between June 22 and Aug. 5, a group of transferred mares had died, McGuire said; As of Aug. 15, 57 mares, ages 15 to 19 years, had died, he said.

    “As of Aug. 11, the BLM ordered a team of experts out to Kansas to investigate,” McGuire said.


    • The contractor has to send a monthly bill to the BLM, and while there were some dead horses on the end of June bill, it wasn’t until the end of July bill that the BLM saw the higher number of deaths and became concerned.


      • Morgan, I understand that but don’t see what became of requirements to report deaths “immediately.”


  12. We need to get the publics awareness of this problem…One idea is to Contact Ellen DeGeneres!!! She is an animal lover, and very impressive on people about almost anything. I feel she would think this is most important, just make sure she knows the facts, as not to get into any legal battle that would hurt her outstanding reputation!


  13. Ellen Degeneres will not help. Her corporate owned network would pull her show if she started sqawking about wild horses. She is only an advocate when it pays to be one. I have written and emailed her several times. I have never even received a reply…..


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