Hundreds of wild horses from a military base in Louisiana are being relocated to North Texas in an effort to find them new owners.
The operation is being managed by the Humane Society of North Texas, according to KXAS-TV (NBC 5). It is moving the herd of nearly 400 horses from the Fort Polk Joint Readiness Training Center in Vernon Parish, La., to the Humane Society’s location in Decatur.
“It’s an honor to work with the Army and be a part of this,” said Sandy Shelby, the Humane Society of North Texas’ executive director. “It is kind of historic.”
Army officials said there were previously around 700 horses and donkeys living on and around Fort Polk, but many of the donkeys were stolen, according to the Humane Society of North Texas.
Shelby said the horses are well-known in Vernon Parish and are referred to as “trespass horses.”
The army decided to move them because they were too close to the military base and all the weaponry contained within it, which wasn’t safe for the horses or military staff.
Many advocates have argued that the horses should have been left alone, but “kill buyers” were offering to purchase the horses and ship them to Mexico to sell their meat.
The Humane Society then stepped in to relocate the horses for adoption, Shelby said.
The Humane Society of North Texas will move the horses in groups of about 50 at a time for the next two years until all have been relocated, according to NBC 5.
The first 50 have already been moved. They’ve had little human interaction, and volunteers with the Humane Society said they need special homes.
“Whoever comes in that wants to get involved in this does need to be an experienced horse person,” Shelby said. “We’ll keep [the horses] as long as we need to until every last one of them gets a home.”
The Humane Society says the relocation effort will cost about $50,000. It is asking anyone who can’t adopt a horse to make a donation to help feed and house a horse while it waits to be adopted.