Wild Horses/Mustangs

THE TRUTH #19 – The sale of wild horses to American Mustang Germany: Discrepancies in a Decision Memorandum by Dean Bolstad, BLM’s Division Chief of the Wild Horse & Burro Program

Wild Horse Freedom Federation issues THE TRUTH to share Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) documents and information with the public.  Be sure to subscribe HERE to Wild Horse Freedom Federation, so that you can receive email alerts.

THE TRUTH #19 – The sale of wild horses to American Mustang Germany: Discrepancies in a Decision Memorandum by Dean Bolstad, BLM’s Division Chief of the Wild Horse & Burro Program

On Feb. 23, 2017, BLM Wild Horse & Burro Division Chief Dean Bolstad sent a Decision Memorandum for the Assistant Director, Resources and Planning, to request approval to sell 26 sale-eligible wild horses to American Mustang Germany, to be used in one of Mustang Heritage Foundation’s Mustang Makeover Events in Germany.

The first discrepancy is simple: in the Subject line, and again in the first and second paragraphs, Bolstad states that 26 wild horses were to be sold.  Steve Tryon approved the sale of 26 wild horses on the memorandum.  But the Bills of Sale to American Mustang Germany, authorized by Sally Spencer, only indicate that 21 wild horses were sold to American Mustang Germany.  What about the other 5 wild horses?  Will they be sold to American Mustang Germany in the future?

The second discrepancy is: In the first paragraph under Background, Bolstad noted (about Silke Strussione, the founder of American Mustang Germany) “In the past year, she has arranged for nine adoption and six sales of horses to Germany.  The adopted horses will remain in Georgia until they are sold to Silke Strussione and then they will be exported to Germany.” 

Bolstad stated that Strussione arranged for “six sale horses to Germany.”  However, BLM Sale logs provided to Wild Horse Freedom Federation during this time period indicate that Silke Strussione only bought 4 wild horses from the BLM the prior year.  There were no prior sales to American Mustang Germany – the 21 wild horses sold to American Mustang Germany were pending the approval of this memorandum.

If Mustang Heritage Foundation, or their TIP trainer, is acting as a third party and selling wild horses to go overseas, that is an issue that needs to be addressed.  They are receiving taxpayer dollars.

All BLM Bills of Sale, Adoption Agreements and Private Maintenance and Care Agreements should be revised to contain language stating that wild horses & burros may not ever be sold to or shipped out of the country (reason below).

The third discrepancy is that Bolstad states “All horses that arrive in Germany are required to have German papers and a chip implanted.  The owner decides if their horse can be slaughtered or not when they get their papers and chip.  Strussione will sign the horses up as ‘no slaughter horses.’  The papers and chip will designate each horse as a no slaughter animal.  The slaughter facilities are not allowed to accept horses without their paperwork and also scan the implanted chip.”

Since Bolstad stated that “The owner decides if their horse can be slaughtered or not when they get their papers and chip, what if American Mustang Germany sells the horse to someone, and then that person, in turns sells the horse to someone else?  It seems that new owners may not “sign the horses up as no slaughter horses.”  And when the horse is older, could it be sold online or at an auction and end up going to slaughter?

Bolstad was included in prior email discussions about selling wild horses & burros overseas, and top level BLM employees agreed that the BLM has no oversight once horses & burros are sold overseas.  Examples of what was stated in the 2011 emails between BLM employees are:

“The idea is if we sell horses to over seas recipients knowing we have no authority as to how they are treated or dealt with it is the same as selling without limitation and we are not allowed to do that under the omnibus…



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13 replies »

    • Yes. Now we need to keep an eye out for “What next?” However, there is a lack of transparency by the BLM and the American public might not find out until after the fact.


    • Hi, I am from Germany and it doesn’t make sense, to bring the Mustangs to Germany and have a also a blog, in which the German Mustang makeover is criticised. But one thing, you didn’t know. If in the paper of a horse is the comment, that you can not slaughter it, the remark is for lifetime. If the horse gets a new owner, he has no right to slaughter the mustang, because of the paper (we call it Equidenpass) and the chip.


      • Hi Nicolas, thank you so much for your comment. What if the horse is later sold to someone and is shipped to Russia?
        Or Algeria? Another country may not have to honor the Equidenpass.
        Some of the main points about this article is that this sale has set a precedent and opened the door for wild horses to be sold ANYWHERE overseas. The Bureau of Land Management did not inform the American public of these plans, so you can understand why we’d concerned that we do not find out what happened to our wild horses & burros until after the fact.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Machiavellian.

    The only word suitable for the endless ways the circumvent both the letter and intent of the law while still cashing their pay checks compliments of U.S. taxpayers.

    What public benefit accrues from shipping 21 citizen-owned horses to an unknown fate in Germany? Why are international adoptions even allowed for American national treasures? Did they pay a whopping $125 each for them after millions were spent on roundups, removals, processing and warehousing? Were we also duped into paying transport costs as we did for Ken Salazar and the missing 1700+ forcibly removed wild horses?

    We need better management but this does not provide it.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Hi, I just read your article. It seems to me, you are not familiar with the european system. Here, the horses paper stays with the horse, even if it sold to another person. A horse, registered once as non slaughter horse, stays a non slaughter horse for the rest of his life. You are not allowed, to change this in its papers. The equidae passport contains every piece of information about the horse (non slaughter, treatments, owners, markings, you name it). As soon, as a horse receives a medication, not certified for human use, the veterinarian registers the horse as non slaughter horse in the passpord.
    Therefore, this shouldn’t be a problem. Could explain, what happened to the rest of the horses? Mustang Makeover Germany presented only 15 of them during the event.


    • Hi Pascal, what if someone buys this horse in Germany, then decides to ship it to Russia or to another country that may not honor the Equidenpass?
      You may not be familiar to what is happening with our wild horses & burros here in the U.S., but some of our concerns are that it was our understanding that it was a policy of the BLM not to sell wild horses & burros overseas, so this sale has set a new precedent and opened the door for wild horses to be sold ANYWHERE overseas. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) did not inform the American public of these plans, so you can understand why we’d concerned that we do not find out what happened to our wild horses & burros until after the fact.
      I do not know why the Mustang Makeover in Germany only presented 15 mustangs during the event. The BLM has no jursidiction over these horses after they leave the country.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I wonder about the chip scanners, since we know in the USA not all scanners “see” all chips, and not every place that should scan an animal does so, and even some that do get scanned are ignored. A legal case is winding through our local paper on a lost dog that was chipped but two rescue organizations failed to find it and the new owner had the dog for several years before the dog wandered out of her yard, was picked up, and a third scanner identified the original owner, who sued for return of his dog.

        What guarantees does the German scanning system provide to the American public that their system is fail proof and also incorruptible (as in through forged papers etc., also not uncommon here). And just what does happen if a US horse with a chip ends up being discovered in a slaughter pen?


      • Chips can move around in the animal’s body and there have been issues with scanners not working in cold weather.


  3. America’s Wild Horses & Burros are being sold and shipped overseas under false pretenses.
    Europeans are NOT being told the TRUTH

    Here is just one example of

    Homeward bound: America’s wild horses arrive in Germany


    Every Storefront needs to be able to handle at least 10 horses and serve as a pick-up, drop-off location for other trainers. In the case of Clark’s ranch in Georgia, called Rackettown Mustangs, it is much closer to her German clients than the BLM corral in southeast Oregon.

    Krystal Johnson manages the BLM wild horse program for the entire eastern half of the country. She has two teams to cover 31 states.

    A Storefront like Rackettown Mustangs, with an established trainer and a facility big enough for a semitrailer full of horses to turn around, is huge for reaching more local markets, she said.


  4. For the love of God fellow Americans!

    Am I missing something? I am not all that vested in horses as many of these lovers of the animal are, but, I have read up on some of the basics reguarding the American Mustangs (out west) and the recent shipment of the animals to Germany.
    What is it now with this apparent shipment or Mustangs overseas regret and yep, the use of u.s. taxpayers dollars to do it? Did I get the wrong memo again? This Dean Bolstad, head of the BLM, writes this detailed letter that appears to be stating no Mustangs should go overseas and the American public wasn’t notified? He wants to turn this into some federal, international contention about the paperwork etc between the respective countries? I get it. There has to be some regulation requarding the process of the overseas adoptions. Yes, those over there should be vetted to be assured their intent is honorable. Etc.

    But I can not believe that, by and large, a few of these Germans interested in a Mustang horse from America is going to go through all there trouble and expense on their part to bring the animal over there just to “slaughter it or sell it to another owner”. All these hypotheticals be damned I say. (of course, it’s true the world is full of trickery and one must be on guard for a rare opportunist)….

    But hey…wake up….we should be encouraging the interested Germans or anyone else qualified to adopt them if they are interested. Maybe a slight risk….but have you forgotten their odds of life they have currently running free in our modern west? To me it sounds like “oh, we opened Pandora’s box by sending our treasured horses overseas- they might be sold to be killed!. It’s better if we have to slaughter them here!” Don’t make sense. Again, I dont think these Germans want to bring them over there for sole reason to be slaughtered or sold.

    Iron out the glitches in the paperwork. Dont be threatened America is going to lose their legenary equines. (in a way they are being lost due to the reality of times, the draught, encroachment, overpopulation etc). Tell the BLM people to be sure to leave our wild horse stock at around 27,000 if that is the number for sustainability. So what’s really the problem?

    Just let the vetted overseas people take in these animals if they are interested! Crying out loud. In the end, I understand it actually will save the taxpayer….and you know what…? I really dont think this is an issue most people care about. Not everyone, like myself, is a horse afffectionado and really cares. So, while admitting the people of USA has the right to know what is happening to their wild horses and the usage of their tax dollar, all this comes down to either me not understanding the issue or someone just looking for technical glitches.


    From what I have seen so far, these horses are really being giving MUCH better lives. Bottom line.


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