Horse News

AZ Gov Officially Signs Wild Horse Protection Bill

Source: The Fountain Hills Times

“The Salt River horses are beautiful, majestic and a treasure to our state,”

Governor Doug Ducey has officially signed House Bill 2340, providing extra protection to the wild horse herd that makes the Lower Salt River and Saguaro Lake area their home.

Photo by Julie Bradshaw of Salt River Wild Horse Management Group

Photo by Julie Bradshaw of Salt River Wild Horse Management Group

The passage of the bill was announced during a press conference on May 11, featuring support from Representative Kelly Townsend, who reworked the most recent version of the bill, as well as Sheriff Joe Arpaio and advocates for the Salt River herd.

“The Salt River horses are beautiful, majestic and a treasure to our state,” Governor Ducey said in a statement. “Since last summer, we have worked to protect them and their ability to roam free.”

Last year, the Tonto National Forest Service announced that approximately 100 horses historically living near the Salt River would be “impounded,” as they had been labeled as stray animals, turned out by their owners.

Public outcry led to Tonto National Forest Supervisor Neil Bosworth postponing any decision involving the horses.

While a form of the recently signed bill was already passed by the Senate, it was argued that the wording did not fully protect the horses and needed to be reworked. To provide further protection, Rep. Townsend consulted with The Salt River Wild Horse Management Group in order to strengthen the bill, making it illegal to “take, harass, kill or otherwise interfere” with the wild horses.

That proposal was sent to the Senate and met with approval and, last week, returned to the House where it received a vote of 53-3. With Gov. Ducey’s support, HB2340 is now official.

“Many Arizonans were rightly outraged when the future of the Salt River Horse was put at risk, and I was clear then that I would do everything in my power to protect them from danger,” Ducey said in his statement. “Today, I am proud to sign a bill that paves the way [for] state, local and federal forces to work together to keep them free from interference or harassment.”

12 replies »

    • Uh oh – I hope I didn’t speak too soon. The Federal Act should take precedence over the state – but I wondered what would be behind another horse removal, voila! and there is a proposed Resolution Copper mine for 2400 acres *in* the National Forest! What an ugly mess that would be, and a threat to rivers and streams. Will it ever stop? Never mind clean air, clean drinking water where is must be a precious commodity in the Southwest, or anything else but mining for somethin’ shiny!

      (from Wikipedia):

      “A land swap proposed as a part of the 2015 National Defense Authorization Act would permit a subsidiary of the Rio Tinto mining conglomerate, Resolution Copper Co., to acquire 2,400 acres of the Tonto National Forest, considered sacred for the San Carlos Apache Tribe, for purposes of copper mining. This proposal, in Section 3003, titled “Southeast Arizona Land Exchange”, is strongly opposed by many Native Americans, including the 57 member tribes of The Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians, and by the Great Plains Tribal Chairmen’s Association.”


  1. I hope what I just read is true. That the AZ. Government wants to protect these beautiful horse from harm. If so, I’m glad this government has a heart for wild horses and respect to the AZ. community we need more governors to take a stand and show they also have a heart, and that they also respect their community! Thanks to all the caring hearts!


  2. Arizona’s few remaining Wild Burros need protection ASAP


    Arizona State government representatives are promoting killing our wild burros. Wild burros are our nationally protected living history. They represent our pioneering spirit and our culture. In 1971, congress passed the Free Roaming Wild Horses and Burros act. With this unanimous vote they provided protections to the burros and horses as our living legacies of our historical past.

    Arizona is one of the states lucky enough to have their own vitally precious relic herds of wild burros, documented as laying claim to these lands as their ancestral homes for hundreds of years. The Black Mountain HMA is one million acres and is best known for the town of Oatman where burros are a main tourism draw. However, even the Oatman burros are not safe from the greed of stakeholders like the Arizona Bighorn Sheep Society, Arizona Mining Association, and Arizona off roaders who have 750 miles of trail cut throughout these habitats set aside for the burros.

    The local community supports bighorn restoration, but not killing wild burros. Please help the community to stand up against these powerful forces that have refused to hear pleas to keep the wild burros, alive. Tell Senators John McCain and Jeff Flake that you will not tolerate removals of our wild burros. Tell Arizona Game and Fish, Steve Moss, and Senators McCain and Flake to stop promoting hunting them and barbecuing them. Killing our wild burros, harassing our wild burros, and managing them to extinction ignores the desires of millions of people who want them protected. Protect the burros of Arizona, and stop promoting hunting them.
    For more information go to this link:


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