Federal Judge Rejects Emergency Request to Block Salt River Wild Horse Roundup

“It would be a historic and colossal mistake if the Forest Service would go through with these cruel, cruel plans,”

A federal judge declined to issue an emergency order restraining the Tonto National Forest Service from ousting a famous herd of wild horses from its home along the Salt River in Mesa.

While U.S. Forest Service officials originally announced plans to begin rounding up the horses Friday, in response to aggressive public pushback, the agency agreed not to make a move until September.

With the immediate threat lifted, the judge instructed the Salt River Wild Horse Management Group, a nonprofit that monitors the herd, to deliver the lawsuit to the Forest Service and give them a chance to respond. A hearing is scheduled for August 12.

“There’s no need to panic at this point,” said William Miller, a Scottsdale attorney who is representing the horse advocates. “The game hasn’t even begun.”

The Salt River Wild Horse Management Group is suing the Forest Service for violating the federal Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971, which declares wild horses vital to the “natural system” of public lands and mandates they be protected from “capture, branding, harassment, or death.”

The group also alleges the Forest Service violated the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 because they did not conduct an environment assessment or impact study prior to ordering the horses removal.

“It would be a historic and colossal mistake if the Forest Service would go through with these cruel, cruel plans,” said Simone Netherlands, president of the Salt River Wild Horse Management Group…

…More than 100,000 people have signed an online petition opposing a roundup, inspiring a number of Arizona and U.S. lawmakers to intervene on the herd’s behalf.

In a letter sent to Tonto National Forest Supervisor Neil Bosworth Wednesday, U.S. Senators Jeff Flake and John McCain called on the agency to engage the public before taking action.

“Whether they are treated as feral under state law, or ‘wild’ under federal law, horses are a celebrated icon of the west,” they wrote.

Governor Doug Ducey chimed in, too.

“The federal government should leave our wild horses alone,” he wrote on his Facebook page. “But if they don’t, Arizona will do everything we can to protect them, provide them sanctuary, and ensure they are treated humanely.”


  1. We need to stay united and nit allow them or other wild horses (no matter when and how they became wild ) from being stripped from their home and protecting this beautiful area our country from being destroyed. The governor saying they will ensure they are moved to a sanctuary is just another way of removing them. They have a sanctuary and a home they need to be left there. This is about stealing sacred land from the Apache indians to sell to an Austrian company for copper mining, bighorn sleep, clearing trails for cattle, and land grabbing for more war testing land. Its all connected together we need to stop these injustices they never expected advocates to join and expose them. Behind the smoke screen they present is pure deception. If you haven’t check out these articles and public meeting notice for August 13. I so appreciate all on the front lines who are leading this effort, all who have joined to protect these legendary equids, native sacred land, our western land from being destroyed and stripped for greed.




    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, the facebook link doesn’t work – but the other two DO! I did comment on the Fort Polk article – just in case it might do some good.


    • Kate, your heart is in the right place but your “facts” are jumbled.
      1. Governor Ducey was not implying we would create a sanctuary and move the horses to it. He wants them left where they are and protected there.
      2. The area where these horses call home is adjacent to and in the Granite Reef Recreation Area. The tribe that owns the north side of the Salt River here, and the Verde River that joins the Salt here is the Salt River – Pima – Maricopa Indian Community (SRPMIC). They are not Apache.
      3. The land in contention regarding the foreign-owned copper company is the Oak
      Flat area. THAT is Apache territory, but not
      formally on current tribal land.
      4. I’m not sure what your comment on big horn sheep is about. They are an Arizona native species and have every right to exist here.
      As advocates it is very important to keep our facts straight and all the various individual issues untangled and focused.


  2. I also dont see how the headline relates to the text here. The emphasis should be on the fact that it isnt a done-deal yet, not that the horses have no chance.


  3. Arizona: Clear the Bench going after corruption in the legal system full blast

    A m e r i c a n P o s t – G a z e t t e
    Distributed by C O M M O N S E N S E , in Arizona
    Monday, August 25th, 2014
    Clear the Bench going after corruption in the legal system full blast
    Names judges, crooked attorneys and provides laundry list of misdoings

    PRESS RELEASE Contact: Clear the Bench Arizona, LLC
    Phone: 602-374-3483602-374-3483
    http://www.clearthebench-az.com 10645 North Tatum Blvd Suite C200 Box 397
    Phoenix, AZ 85028
    clearthebenchaz@gmail.com CLEAR THE BENCH ARIZONA, LLC

    Clear the Bench Arizona, announces its mission and call to action
    Phoenix, August 25, 2014: Clear the Bench Arizona is seeking to make a difference and expose the issues and concerns involving the judicial and state bar systems. Its mission statement is:

    “Toward the end that the Arizona judiciary remains impartial, apolitical, and able to dispense justice, we are organized to hold all judges, courts, commissioners, court officers and personnel accountable to the People and Constitutions of Arizona and the United States


  4. A Judge with INTEGRITY

    Court Strikes Down Idaho Ag-Gag Law!

    August 4, 2015
    In a strongly-worded admonishment to the Idaho State Legislature, Judge B. Lynn Winmill struck down the so-called “Ag-Gag” Law passed by the state last year. Finding that the new law violates the First Amendment and rights to equal protection, the court overturned the law that sought to criminalize whistle-blowers and undercover investigators who exposed animal abuses at Idaho’s agricultural facilities.

    Western Watersheds Project and our allies (including Animal Legal Defense Fund, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, American Civil Liberties Union, and others) brought this suit shortly after Governor “Butch” Otter signed the bad legislation into law last year. Testimony on the bill and court filings demonstrated that its intent was to punish certain types of speech and prevent the exposure of mistreatment of animals. WWP got involved because the Idaho law was crafted in such a way that even our work on public lands livestock operations could have been criminally prosecuted. The Judge saw through to the nefarious intentions behind the law and ruled to protect free speech in Idaho.

    It’s a fantastic victory at a time when WWP and others are fighting similar laws and intentions all over the West. Thanks very much to the attorneys on the case, Matthew Liebman of Animal Legal Defense Fund, Leslie Brueckner of Public Justice, Justin Marceau of the University of Denver Sturm College of Law, and the law firm of Maria E. Andrade for this important win!

    Read the Decision here.


  5. Zimbabwe lifts ban on lion hunts
    News24 Correspondent

    Harare -Zimbabwe has lifted a hastily-imposed countrywide ban on lion, leopard and elephant hunting in the wake of Cecil the lion’s death, though it remains in force in a limited area, insiders and a hunters’ group say.

    The ban was imposed on August 2 in the wake of global outrage over the killing of Cecil by a US dentist on an illegal hunt just outside Hwange National Park in western Zimbabwe.

    A statement from the Zimbabwe Professional Hunters and Guides Association, leaked this weekend, reads: “We are pleased to inform you that, following some useful discussions between operators and the relevant Zimbabwean authorities, the suspension has now been uplifted throughout the country”, though there are some exceptions.


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