Horse News

Wild horses to be moved from Salt River AZ

By MaryEllen Resendez of ABC 15 Arizona

“This is a cross roads that we are going to regret 20 years from now…”

Click Image to View Video

Click Image to View Video

Horse organizations from across the Valley are stampeding to save the Salt River wild horses after Tonto National Forest officials announced the horses must be removed from forest service land.

“People come from all over to come see the Salt River wild horses,” said Simone Netherlands with the Salt River Wild Horse Management Group.

Three years ago, Lori Walker was one of those people who traveled to Butcher Jones Recreational area just to see the horses.

“I’m a wild life photographer and sports photographer and I had to see them for myself, ever since then I’ve been hooked,” explained Walker.

On July 31, Tonto National Forest Officials posted a seven-day notice announcing the removal of the horses.

Chandler Mundy, a spokesperson with the Tonto National Forest told ABC15 how and when they will remove the horses is still being worked out, but it will likely include riders and helicopters.

“It just boils down to a safety concern for the Forest Service. We have horses out there on Forest Service land and we have no authority to manage horses and this is how they’re proceeding to remedy the safety issue,” explained Mundy.

That is crushing to Netherlands and other wild horse lovers. They fear helicopters will be too stressful for the horses and some may be lost. Some have resulted to relocating but a discount full service moving company is hard to find and makes the project very expensive.

“This is a cross roads that we are going to regret 20 years from now. This is a colossal mistake that the Forest Service is making and it’s not a reversible one,” said Netherlands.

Mundy said the horses have never been designated for protection in Arizona, so they are considered stray animals. And even though no one has ever been injured, forest rangers don’t want to wait until it happens.

“I was in Butcher Jones today there were little kids playing, the horses were right there. It’s just a matter of time before something bad happens and we don’t want to see that,” said Mundy.

“These horses are not stray livestock horses. These horses are a national treasure and the Forest Service is taking a sneaky route without any chance to give the public time to comment,” argued Netherlands.

The seven day notice doesn’t give wild horse organizations much time to organize, but they said they will spend their week doing everything they can to save the horses.

“You know there’s not much of the Old West left. Wild horses have been a fixture in the west and they should remain a fixture,” said one group member.

If you would like to contact the Forest Service, visit their website.

“They are like our family. We see each band, their dynamics, we see their babies born and how they interact with each other. I can’t even imagine them being gone.” said a tearful Walker as she urged the public to join their fight.

It’s a fight Forest Officials say they expected.

13 replies »

  1. Shari Welsh shared Salt River Wild Horse Management Group’s photo to the group: BLM, LEAVE AMERICA’S WILD HORSES AND BURROS ON THEIR WILD LANDS!
    Works at Self-Employed · 125 Mutual Friends · 14 hrs ·…/tonto/about-forest/contactus CALL TO STOP REMOVAL also call CONGRESS/SENATORS- 202-224-3121
    PRESIDENT- 202-456-1414 ALERT ALERT ALERT! With this public notice the Forest Service is announcing the annihilation of the Salt River Wild Horses in Mesa, AZ. Please help us in creating an unprecedented public outrage. Please film yourself for 30 seconds and explain why you feel that the Forest Service should preserve the Salt River Wild Horses for future generations. We will post all videos here for the world to see. There are less than 500 wild horses left in the entire state of Arizona. Please join us in asking the Forest Service to work with the Salt River Wild Horse Management Group towards humane management, not extinction. Also Please call the Chief of the Forest Service Mr. Tom Tidwell at (202) 205-8439 or the USFS at 1 800 832 1355 as well as Forest Service supervisor Neil Bosworth at 602 225 5201 and ask them to work with the Salt River Wild Horse Management Group instead of shortchanging future generations by removing this iconic and famous herd. Thank You.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I have so little respect for the USFS in this aspect. I personally find them to be crooked, even far worse than the BLM most of the time, when it comes to the management of our wild horses. They are greatly responsible for the destruction of the Sheldon Mustangs. Now they’re calling for a similar fate for the Mustangs of Salt River? And, if human/wild animal interaction is a safety issue, enforce the law and tell people NOT to harass wild horses or any sort of wildlife. It’s not the horses’ fault that they were so close to those children. It is the parents’ responsibility to take control of their kids and teach them to stay a respectful distance from wild horses. Common sense. What part of this does the USFS not understand? You don’t need a bachelor’s degree to acknowledge this.


  3. A Cattle co is claiming they are Holding a Wild Horse named SARGE hostage because he was not getting water or food. SOMEONE needs to tell us whats really going on. Its all the buzz on the proslaughter nuts side. They are blaming Laura Leigh. We have Concerned citizens in Illinois who want to know. I have been on the phone All morning fielding calls from worried folks about whether the BLM is collecting him or whether Advocates are on top of this story. Please advise.


  4. Tried to post please advise. Illinois residents hearing from pro horse slaughter Wild Horse Sarge has been taken Hostage by a Cattle Company with claims of neglect alleged against the BLM and Laura Leigh. Please confirm or dispell this rumor. If Sarge has been taken hostage in the Slaughter Wars let us know how to help.


  5. Can someone explain how the USFS claims not to have any authority to manage wild horses, then in practically the same sentence announces they are removing them forever?

    They may not have budgets or interest but surely have authority, and work for us. In all the years the horses have been there without a safety issue, what is prompting this eradication?

    They are documented as eating Tamarisk, an truly invasive species we are paying to eliminate all over the west – you can see it in the background of the video posted below. Why the demonization? What is the real reason driving these rogue decisions?

    Here is something everyone involved should watch (again):


  6. The horses are being moved because “something might happen”? This is familiar to me because it is much like breed specific legislation involving dogs incorrectly perceived as vicious only this time it is targeting a different species. How about regulating human activity instead?


  7. Their reasoning is a bunch of crap, Is a way they can keep people making a pay check, take the horses because they want to. Their reasoning is not logical . But, then when are they. It is a Power game, again


    • Not sure what the situation is in AZ but I know folks who work for the USFS who are struggling with work overload due to staff cutbacks. Paying people to move horses who might, maybe, someday, in certain circumstances, once in a while cause a safety problem to dimwitted people, when there is more pressing work to do doesn’t seem realistic to me.


      • It’s surprising that they claim a “work overload” since so many Environmental Assessments and Resource Management Plans, etc. are OUTSOURCED TO PRIVATE COMPANIES.


  8. Seven day notice is deplorable. No doubt they were hoping that the people wouldn’t have time to rally to save these wild horses . If “safety concerns ” are really the issue, when will they begin rounding up rattlesnakes, scorpions and cactus?
    The cattle grazing allotments are what’s driving this shameful act.


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.