Horse News

Video Update: Few Clues in Murdered Wild Mustang Case

Story by George Knapp as broadcast on

“Let the Finger-Pointing Begin!”

27 replies »

  1. All I know is that anti-horse crowd fought Pickens’ attempt to bring sanctuary to wild horses. They fought against it because it was a great solution and they are small-minded, sadistic bullies who want to impose their will on everyone – even if they make no sense! The very fact that she has had people spraying her home with bullets should tell you something. People want to criticize her because she didnt get out there, but hiring people to do ranch work is pretty damn standard. And that law enforcement didnt bother to interview the ranch worker is pretty telling that NV law enforcement is on payroll of the ranching, anti-horse crowd. I really have no adequate descriptors for these people. They cause untold suffering to prove a point? And what is the actual point? That they “own” federal land so no other living creature should be present? That isnt fact and I think it is abominable that our government sits on its thumbs and lets these criminals get by with these terrorist tactics. Goodbye dear wildlife who never sinned nor committed one act of brutality, you lived in a world of heartless humans who actively and savagely murdered you or else passively sat by and smirked about your co-conspirators getting by with brutality and murder.

    Liked by 2 people

    • My issue with the sanctuary was same sex animals. This is not seeing wild horses in their natural habitat. That aside, Madeleine set about to outbid every kill buyer for these horses. And then she bought appropriate lands for them.

      My issue with the resort is the self sufficiency of it. It’s quite expensive to stay there. I was hoping for inexpensive camping cabins…along the lines of a KOA. It’s way out of my price range.

      But any of my issues aren’t even worth a discussion compared to the horrific acts perpetrated against them.

      Madeleine has given up so much to have her resort. I think whoever did this had better look to their heart about their behavior…


  2. Wow… did I just hear that right? The police are trying to blame advocate’s for the horse deaths?? Unreal… why would any advocate want to harm these horses?
    That comment by the police made absolutely no sense. Advocates don’t go round killing animals. Advocates help save animals, not kill them.
    The police should be out doing their job and interviewing the local ranchers in that area… and not lay the blame on advocates…

    Liked by 1 person

    • In their delusional world it makes sense to them and their crew. It isn’t the first time I hear these guys label advocates as “terrorists”, just like regularly does Trump’s team new stellar sign up: Forrest Lucas. Yup, the man that uses his millions to finance ripoff propaganda films depicting animal advocates as the worst thing next to ISIS.

      Yet it is them who go out there totting guns and spraying bullets on others’ homes. What if they happen to kill somebody (human I mean)? Will the case be then taken seriously? Or it will be regarded as an accident or “collateral damage”? ‘Cause the good ol’boys can do anything bad, I guess.

      Liked by 1 person

      • AND Brian Klippenstein (?) spelling may not be correct but he was the director of the little film called Protect the Harvest! You remember – supposedly the tell all about
        those “radical animal activists” that are behind everything! I guess this finally tells us (people who CARE) that possibly Mr. Trump’s not going to be all that caring for animals – unless its cows & sheep.


      • Indeed. The problem is that Hillary isn’t much different either with her hiring of Ken “let’s sell all mustangs for slaughter to my pal Tom Davis” Salazar to head her transition team.

        It is not known whether he will be part of her cabinet again though. But I think it is safe to say her policy will likely be to stay on the current’s course: No horse slaughter plants in the US but slaughter pipeline kept open; mass sterlization and removals of mustangs to make room for cattle, drilling and mining and appease the guy the good ol’boys in the West that won’t vote for her anyways for she is a woman.

        Of course that is still better than having a bunch of half-brained idiots and horse meat worshippers like Duquette, Lucas or Wallis running the country.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I know that advocates have been critical but she had saved these horses from slaughter. Her husband stood up for the horses years back during the congressional hearings. She’s had gone against all odds to make it happen. Dammit she didn’t deserve that…THE HORSES DIDN’T DESERVE THAT..THIS IS A PRIME EXAMPLE WHERE ALL ADVOCATES NEED TO STAND UP AND SUPPORT ONE OF OUR OWN. I don’t give a Damn that she’s making money from this venture. I don’t give a Damn that the horses are geldings. I just want the perpetrator caught and penalized for the crime against the horses.. Those in law enforcement bette get up of v their asses avid do their damned job!!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Sigh. I wish people would surprise us sometime and not be so predictable. Even if the ranchhand didn’t check (and maybe she does need to hire someone else or more) the original crime of secretly cutting fences and sabotaging the water supply set it all in motion and the culprits need to be found. I wonder what any private investigator will say. Water rights are the key here and water rights have been quite a cause of contention in our nation’s history. What did these criminals do? Shut off the water.

    It’s worse than I thought, when they would try to pass of blame to animal advocate who would never dream of harming animals it is their goal to save!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Also, ideally these beautiful animals ought to be living and free-roaming(!) on the range, without any obsessive interference to their lives and breeding from the pettiness of humans. But failing that, a sanctuary is the next best thing, and I’m glad this woman has done this. I’m not crazy about interfering with their reproduction, by anyone.

    It appears to me that wild horses are ideally suited to these dry grasslands, don’t eat much, vary their diet as to what is available – grass, sagebrush, forbs, even the dreaded cheatgrass(!). I’m going to ask whether or not their water requirements are that high, as they seem to be so well adapted to the drier areas. Wild animals eat whatever is available and often don’t read the memo from humans telling them what they are supposed to eat (just ask my backyard deer!) They were made to roam, like bison, and evolved with this kind of environment, and the grasses grow symbiotically. Humans restricting them to smaller ranges and too many cattle is what causes the damaged landscape. Humans who are unable to share the landscape with anyone, human or animal, is the problem.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wild horses (up in the Pryors)drink 7-10 gallons twice a day. Usually once in the morning and then late afternoon/early evening. More if it’s hot. I don’t believe their needs are any different than domesticate. They may be able to handle the thirst better but drinking? They’ll happily drain a 5 gallon tub in a flash!


  6. No matter if she “made” money from this sanctuary – which is really doubtful – considering the expense of the land, fencing, and water facilities – she DID rescue these horses from slaughter! Cannot imagine any real wild horse advocate that would shut off the supply of water! And hearing of shots fired at the building? Was that investigated? Or do they blame that on “activists”? The BLM has been giving Ms. Pickens a hard time right along and of course we know how the “ranchers” feel!


    • No advocate did this. That’s just a bunch of hooey and those online posts are just the job of trolls working for the cattle mafia or horse slaughter apologists wanting to stir the pot.

      In this regard, while I’m appreciative of their coverage, Channel 8 has been tremendously irresponsible and unprofessional by offering that as “evidence” that, somehow, horse advocates are behind these vicious attacks that clearly was aimed to kill the horses and send a clear message to Pickens: We want the water. Go away.

      Anybody could have made those posts. Where are the ISP logs and the public IP of those machines, proving that they belong to animal advocates? Which are the IP addresses or facebook or web profiles of those posters? If Channel 8 wanted to get to the bottom of these they could investigate that, and they will likely find those posts are the job of trolls using fictitious identities. But of course there is not an interest in revealing the truth, just covering up the good ol’boys and point out how misguided and evil animal advocates are.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. This is a horrific story. The horses pictured have been dead for quite a while considering their stage of decomposition; but to blame a horse advocate and rescuer who owns the property is just trying to shift blame away from the BLM and the Welfare Ranchers. Pickens needs to find more trust worthy ranch hands who would have reported these deaths; and noticed that the water had been shut off.
    Whoever did this to these animals deserves to be punished severely; but I don’t believe that someone who has put millions of dollars into this sanctuary would just go out and blindly kill their own horses. Where would she profit; and what could she possibly gain from this?


    • There is no profit at all since BLM doesn’t allow her to operate the resort unless she gives away her water and grazing rights on that property. Instead, it operates on donations as a pure sancutary.

      And probably she can’t find any trustable ranch hand in the area, for self-evident reasons.


  8. There’s a correction that needs to be made. Palomino posted Thursday night that the necropsy pointed to the mare in ID…somehow impaling herself. Don’t know if she spooked or what. But the vet said she wasn’t stabbed although the first vet and police indicated this was so.

    If for any reason your monies weren’t refunded (they should’ve been)please let Palomino know.

    Elko is full of horse haters. I’ve listened to grown man cry about wanting horse tripping allowed. And we know how ranchers feel about wild horses. Elko is about 40 minutes west of Wells…at the hwy 93/I 80 interchange. MM is some 30 miles south of that intersection.


  9. To even suggest that Wild Horse & Burro advocates would break the law in order to “help” the horses is preposterous. They may have their disagreements, but they are all on the same page when comes to their love for these animals. They want them left IN THE WILD and on their LEGAL Herd Management Areas where they rightfully belong. They continue to fight against the illegal capture and removal operations. They speak out against the horrific cruelty that they witness during and after the roundups, which is so often hidden from the public. They continue to monitor the holding facilities, where the captives either languish or disappear forever. Wild Horse & Burro advocates are NOT the people who have been breaking the law or harming these animals.

    IF they were inclined to tear down fences they would have already done so at the BLM Wild Horse facility/concentration camp, where they have been trying for years to get the deplorable conditions corrected.

    By Jetara Séhart

    WARNING: Graphic Photo Below

    On July 10th, at 7:00 AM., Patty Bumgarner, a Nevada resident and wild horse photographer, visited
    The Palomino Valley Bureau of Land Management’s wild horse and burro holding facility, to see the wild horses she loves and hoping to observe needed shelters and more water troughs provided, but instead Bumgarner discovered, another gruesome tragedy.

    A mare and her unborn foal bodies lay within a pen, in mid birth and died a painful and agonizing death. The mare’s body lay lifeless by the gate, of the mare and foal pen, with her baby visibly stuck in her birth cavity.

    The location of the mare’s body, appears as if she may have been begging for help, but no help ever came for her and her baby, because the BLM PVC staff, neglected to respond, until it was too late, their response came, after the mare and her new born foal, had already died. According to Bumgarner,
    the mare’s body was stiff and appeared to be dead for many hours.

    There were no BLM staff present, except a hay truck distributing hay, in seeming disregard of the unaddressed
    dead mare and foal, surrounded by observing mares and foals, who walked about, with low spirit. Bumgarner
    observed, three BLM male staff come, into the mare and foal pen about 8:00 AM. and start up a backhoe, to move the mother and her unborn foal’s dead bodies.

    Bumgarner stated: “This facility is not properly supervising these pregnant mares and new born foals and if their aim, is to protect these horses, then it doesn’t make sense, that the mares and foals have been moved further away from the BLM office, to the very back of the facility. The further distance from the BLM office, sets up a problem to be able to properly monitor pregnant mares births and new born foal’s well being and blocks the ability to provide immediate needed address, for life threatening emergencies, to end well.”

    Still, there are no new shelters, in this facility to protect the horses from recent and upcoming triple degree desert searing hot Sun. Bumgarner did observe, this facility put up a few partial shelters, that were used last year, but the 1,100 wild horses and burros held behind bars, do not have equal access to shelter and still are only offered 1 water trough per 100 horses in each pen.

    The BLM’s continued failure to provide shelter and proper drinking water access, is causing health and life
    endangerment for all the horses held within this facility.

    In June of 2013, advocates found another young mare dead, on the hot ground, within this facility.

    Dr. Lester Friedlander, former Supervisory Veterinary Medical Officer with the USDA, and veterinarian for the NY State Horse Racing and Wagering Board, says conditions at the Palomino Valley Center call for “emergency action” by the Federal government to ensure the safety of the animals. He says if the horses and burros are not properly protected from the heat and sun, “countless numbers will be lost to disease, infections and heat-related deaths.”


  10. Animal cruelty is now a felony and should be investigated by the FBI, or a least an agency that has not exhibited such animosity towards Nevada’s Wild Horses in the past.

    WHY is the Nevada Department of Agriculture doing the investigating? Several of the same people are still on the board.

    Vice Chair Elko County
    Representing Semi-Range Cattle Production

    Meeting Minutes/ Nevada Board of Agriculture
    Nevada Board of Agriculture

    BOYD SPRATLING: Financial strategy on getting slaughter house going because that is when the river is going to meet the road is when they slaughter the first horse. Think looking at putting facilities on Indian reservations which takes legislature and everybody out of the equation.


  11. I’m very disappointed there aren’t any cameras at these facilities. WEBCAMS always have a viewer audience of thousands of interested general public, Any issues with the animals would never go unreported plus employees would be observed doing the job they were hired for. Is it possible water was stolen? with no cameras it would be easy for a tank truck to cut fence and fill up with water & one day “forget” to turn water back on. Also looks like a lot of water made the ground very muddied OUTSIDE the tanks.


    • It is a very large expanse, so cameras won’t likely make a difference, unless you have unlimited resources and bring in military grade security, with watch towers, volumetric sensors and the like, each few hundred yards. However, this is a wild horse sanctuary, not Area 51.

      Ideally, it should be the job of the ranch manager to drive around the perimeter each day to make sure the fencing is fine. Why he wasn’t, apparently, doing these drives is a mystery. Maybe she just needs additional staff.


      • sorry, no even ONE webcam would makes a difference. The resort has internet, the water wells use solar power and any camera could too. Mount it on a tall post. Ranch owner could check anytime on their cell phone. The general public would love to observe from a webpage. A huge benefit to the resort and wild horses for people to see them. Here’s a webcam on a buffalo herd right at the water source. URL


  12. Unfortunately, because of the harsh conditions out here in the desert in Northern Nevada in vast areas of Elko, Lander, Humboldt, Pershing, Lyon, Churchill and Washoe Counties, even when water systems are set up on solar and/or wind power, water sources should and must be checked no more than 48 hours apart in my opinion to make sure horses and other livestock have plentiful water.

    We too keep many horses, a mule, and burros on our large property that are reliant on us taking care of their needs of water and food.

    Someone is on premises here 24/7 the majority of the time, with infrequent trips 50 miles away to go and get supplies where we are gone maybe 3 hours.
    Watering this summer has been an everyday occurrence to have water available at all times on our off the grid solar/generator property.

    Perhaps Ms. Pickens needs to invest in a 2 or 4 seater Cessna aircraft to make it easier for staff at the ranch to check the farther out herd areas on her property.
    Some of the dead horses also looked like they had been dead longer than 1 week, so additionally, maybe she needs to hire more responsible people to check on her horses just in case there is equipment failure, or perhaps sabatoge.


  13. This is so predictable for the ranchers/BLM to deflect the guilt onto animal advocates, it is their game plan for all that they are guilty of, please do not under-estimate the violent damage that the people in these agencies and ranchers will do to animals. These people live and breathe for hurting and killing animals. Just like the rancher that is corruptly causing this wolf slaughter in WA, the BLM is always happy to take up the agenda to kill any and all animals. Please, the photos and videos are out there on how these people behave, this is not hard to believe who the real enemy is, once you have admitted to yourself what they are capable of, these animal groups need to work together to expose this rouge insane violence to the public and put a stop to these people, join each others movements to save all these innocent animals.


    • And the “best” part of it all is that they already receive compensation for every head of livestock killed by wolves, cougars or bears:

      So… where is the beef with this campaign to kill wolves?

      In other words, they are killing them for the sake of it, And really, the rest of the country doesn’t get all that much -or anything for that matter- in return from these anachronistic, ineffecient and costly subsidized grazing monopolies.


  14. This was received from Madeleine’s mailing list:


    —–Original Message—–
    From: Madeleine Pickens
    To: redacted
    Sent: Mon, Aug 29, 2016 7:16 pm
    Subject: Horse Murderers Still at Large! We NEED your help!

    $100,000 Reward for the capture and conviction of these vandals


    We are all still in shock and trying to process the deaths of so many majestic creatures. Many of these horses were well known to the staff and we occasionally manage a smile as we recall some of their antics. They were a playfully mischievous bunch – always trying to gain that edge!

    They were our family and we deeply grieve their loss.

    Your outpouring of love and support has really helped us through these trying times. It is truly heartening to know so many people share our passion for this important cause.

    The search is supposedly under way for the ELKO HORSE MURDERERS but the silence is extremely upsetting. We are coming up on 2 weeks and have not even got a courtesy update. Our fear is that this is either not getting the attention it needs or is being swept under the rug.

    We need your help!

    Please call Jim Barbee, the Director of the Nevada Department of Agriculture and demand he bring the ELKO HORSE MURDERERS to justice. He can be reached at 775-353-3619 or email the Deputy Director Lynn Hettrick at

    We can’t let this savage crime go unpunished. We must show them that the public will not stand for the heinous and premeditated murder of innocent creatures.

    The authorities need to hear loud and clear that the public will not allow them to ignore the situation. To some it is no big deal, to others it is a GOOD thing, but to decent people it is a horrific crime that cries out for justice.

    Please call and Email today!

    We will be posting updates every week and again thank you for all your prayers and support!


    Call Jim Barbee, Director of the Nevada Department of Agriculture and demand he bring the ELKO HORSE MURDERERS to justice 775-353-3619
    Email Deputy Director of the Nevada Department of Agriculture Lynn Hettrick at demanding justice for our horses
    Continue to spread the word of this atrocity and the $100,000 REWARD for the capture and conviction of these outlaws


  15. You may wish to send a note also – just to let them know we are watching them and they must investigate and not sweep this under the rug.

    Email I sent to the Deputy Director of Nevada DoA:
    Please inform me of the current status of the Madeline Pickens wild horse deaths investigation. I realize that details of your investigation cannot be revealed to the public until arrests are made, but I want assurance that there actually is an ACTIVE investigation. These Elko wild horse killers need to be brought to justice. We cannot allow this savage crime go unpunished. Thank you.

    Response I received:
    Thank you for your email and I appreciate your concern. Please know we are taking this very seriously, as we do all investigations. Because the investigation is currently underway, we are unable to discuss any specifics. We will release information as soon as it becomes available.
    Lynn Hettrick
    Deputy Director | Administration Division | Nevada Department of Agriculture
    405 South 21st Street, Sparks, NV 89431
    Office: 775.353.3737 | Fax: 775.353.3661 | Mobile: 775.434.3372


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