Equine Rescue

85 wild horses captured, 4 euthanized in roundup near Las Vegas


“None of the captured horses will be returned to the wild…”

A contract wrangler offers hay to wild horses near Cold Creek NV, May 12, 2018. Photo by Darcy Grizzle

Federal authorities have gathered 85 wild horses and killed four of them during the first five days of their emergency roundup in the mountains west of Las Vegas.

As of Monday night, the operation led by the U.S. Forest Service was a little under halfway to its goal of removing 200 mustangs from the range around Cold Creek.

A contract livestock crew launched the emergency operation Thursday after the Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management determined that poor range conditions had left the herd at risk of starvation.

Some nearby residents said they were sorry to see the horses go but glad to see them rescued before it was too late. Other locals and mustang advocates angrily oppose the roundup and reject the reasoning given by federal land managers.

There were multiple reports Tuesday of a Cold Creek resident who lured some of the horses onto his property and closed his gate behind them so he could turn the animals loose again after the roundup is over.

Forest Service spokeswoman Erica Hupp said agency officials were aware of the reports but not immediately pursuing them.

“Right now our focus is on getting the horses we can get,” she said.

The animals rounded up so far include 41 studs, 37 mares and seven foals.

The Forest Service said three of the mares, all between the ages of 10 and 14, were euthanized because they were too emaciated to save. One of the foals was euthanized Saturday after breaking a leg.

Hupp said she did not know how the animals were put down, but federal guidelines call for wild horses to be killed “in a dignified and discreet manner,” either with a fatal injection of drugs or a bullet to the head, generally while under the supervision of a veterinarian.

During the first few days of the roundup, cowboys lured the horses into corrals simply by walking up to them and offering them hay. The crew is now using riders on horseback to guide some of the harder-to-reach horses toward baited traps.

Some of the horses collected since Friday have already been trucked to a BLM holding facility in Ridgecrest, California, to be prepared for adoption or transfer to long-term housing off-range.

Horses not healthy enough to make the trip are being fed and cared for at a temporary holding facility at Oliver Ranch in Red Rock Canyon.

Hupp said a foal whose mother could no longer care for it has been placed into foster care at a local residence.

None of the captured horses will be returned to the wild.

Officials expected the roundup to last a week to 10 days, after which the herd around Cold Creek will be reduced to about 50 horses.

According to the BLM, the entire 370,000-acre Wheeler Pass Joint Management Area, which includes Cold Creek, can sustainably support no more than 66 wild horses and 35 wild burros.

The BLM removed 234 horses and euthanized 28 during an emergency roundup in the Cold Creek area in 2015.

The Forest Service has set up a webpage with details and daily updates from the current roundup at https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/htnf/home/?cid=FSEPRD578852.

Contact Henry Brean at hbrean@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0350. Follow @RefriedBrean on Twitter.

Looking to adopt?

Assuming they’re healthy enough, the wild horses now being rounded up near Cold Creek will eventually be offered for adoption.

More information the Bureau of Land Management’s wild horse and burro adoption program is available at https://www.blm.gov/programs/wild-horse-and-burro/adoption-and-sales.

9 replies »

  1. I don’t for one minute believe that there were horses in too bad of condition that had to be euthanized. If they have facilities to care for others who “weren’t healthy enough to make the trip”, they could have cared for these 4 also. I think this agency, along with the BLM, are always looking for any excuse to put down wild horses. And this too….”federal guidelines call for wild horses wild horses to be killed in a dignified and discreet manner, either with a fatal injection of drugs or a bullet to the head, generally while under the supervision of a veterinarian”….don’t believe this either…just a bullet to the head by one of the cowboys is what this really means, no vet present . The US Forest Service has not shown themselves to be sympathetic to the wild horses, and I don’t trust them one bit.


    • Interesting it was all mares that were killed (perhaps thinner from nursing, but killing effectively ends them ever reproducing again). The photo does show one skinny mare/foal but right next to them a horse moderately thin, and one that looks in good flesh, all of course sharing the same conditions.

      Also it’s clear they would not likely kill these animals with drugs, since they would have to catch and get them in chutes to inject, then have to drag them out of the chutes somehow, and then bury them (the law). Bullets are cheap and no burial is required, so I wonder where they disposed of the carcasses… perhaps on USFS land someplace? Hope nobody hiking with their kids stumbles on the burial pit, some tough explaining would be in order.


  2. MAP
    This map shows Herd Management Areas and Herd Areas (zeroed out WH&B habitat) in a format that is easily viewed
    Check it out and notice just how much land has been sliced away from each of these original LEGALLY DESIGNATED Wild Horse & Burro Herd Areas

    Using Science to Improve the BLM
    Wild Horse and Burro Program
    A Way Forward

    Page 4

    Click to access stelprd3796106.pdf


  3. The daily gather statistics are updated as far as 5/12 of the Cold Creek Wild Horse Herd. This day the Forest Service caused the death of a 3-day old filly.
    The Forest Service has changed information, including the beginning date of the gather. Residents in the area have been reaching out to CAES and sharing photos and videos of horses that look really good, and also photos of these horses that Forest Service is showing of thin horses.
    A death labeled as “acute” is when an animal dies or is euthanized due to acute injuries or medical conditions brought about by the gather and removal process including those that occur during capture, sorting and holding at the gather site. This term will include animals that die for known or unknown reasons thought to be related to gather activities.

    A death labeled as “chronic/pre-existing” is when an animal dies or is euthanized for reasons related to chronic or pre-existing conditions such as body condition, lameness, serious physical defects, etc. This term will include animals that are euthanized for conditions not brought about by the gather activity.

    The death of this filly is a horrible incident that did not have to happen. These horses could have been managed on the range and the Forest Service could have worked with community members who offered to supply hay or whatever the horses needed. Instead, they have decided to zero out or remove every horse on the preserve. All this without one answer on how there are several hundred elk, and deer on the preserve that are healthy, not skinny.

    The BLM and Forest Service jointly manage the preserve and the horses. This emergency is only one of several in 22 years. To CAES a 22-year emergency is not management. This gather clearly could have been avoided, but instead, the 2 agencies wait and watch until horses are so thin they can remove them and call it an emergency


    Liked by 1 person

    • “This term will include animals that are euthanized for conditions not brought about by the gather activity.”

      This is curious since without the roundup those animals would survive. I recall here one stud run in an unknown number of miles by himself in 2014, who was then summarily killed since he had an enlarged knee from a long-healed injury. He was fat and able to gallop, yet once he reached the sanctuary of the pen, they killed him. Thus it would seem these sort of death are indeed directly “brought about by the gather activity.”


  4. “in a dignified and discreet manner”

    Just vile people. Who comes up with this load of crap for the public?


  5. Updated – Cold Creek Wild Horses, Animal Neglect & Cruelty Complaint Filed
    Posted on May 8, 2018May 13, 2018 by CAES
    Citizens Against Equine Slaughter Files a Complaint Against Tabitha Romero, BLM’s Southern Nevada District Office, Wild Horse & Burro Specialist.

    Today, May 7, 2018, we filed a complaint alleging neglect and animal cruelty to the Nevada State Attorney General’s Office. After 22 years of mismanagement of the Cold Creek Herd in Nevada, we got a notice that once again an emergency gather has been called for the herd due to horses that appear to be in poor body condition.

    We do not agree that there is an emergency, and if there is, it is not the horses from the herd, as you can see from the above picture of the horse in the worst shape in the herd. She has gained significant weight since coming out of the winter months and foaling. We do have reports of horse sightings by 2 of our team members who frequent the HMA, that say they do not recognize these horses. Is there a situation being created to push the starvation and removal plans to kill 100,000 wild horses through the FY 2019 appropriations bill, again pushing the agenda of Rep Chris Stewart, and the commercial special interest groups who want them gone. In this case, it is the hunters.

    The other major use of this area is hinting of big game, mainly elk. The hunters are reported to have shot in the direction of one of our team members more than once, and cars will follow her, stop and watch as if to intimidate her. She has witnessed them shooting a desert tortoise and an endangered fox in the area as well. This is not a hunting preserve, it is a wild horse preserve. Again we have to ask if there are many elk herds that are large, and many mule deer and other wildlife, why is it that the only species starving on the land is the horses? We call shenanigans. And we want charges filed, and the truth told about why this is a persistent problem that these 2 federal agencies are just watching it happen instead of fixing the problem.

    Our Boots on the Ground team member reported that on 4/10/18 as she was following the James Gang they were in the line of fire from nearby gun enthusiasts shooting in the direction of the horses as they were headed to the water. She stayed with James and his mare and newborn foal until dark. The following photo shows the 2 people on the hill with their firearms


    Liked by 1 person

  6. The truth here is that there might have been one mare that we agree was a BCS of 1, but even she was putting on weight. Our people on the ground there have sent photos with time-date stamps from just coming out of winter with a foal at her side, and up to the day before the gather began, and she was gaining weight, therefore GOOD prognosis for recovery. These deaths were senseless. The other truth is the discrimination of one wildlife species over another. On this same wild horse preserve there is an elk feeding station, however, the area is fenced to allow only elk and deer access (they jump the fence). This means that our government values only wildlife species that have monetary value. This has to be changed!


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