Horse News

Inadequate Handling Practices Pose added Threat to Louisiana’s Wild Horses

Source: Amy Hanchey, President, Pegasus Equine Guardian Association

Regarding the Current Round Up of 37 Horses, Round Up #5 
It’s very important to remember any time you deal with Kill buyers, Kill Pen Horses… etc. the risk of exposure to disease is far greater. Especially for wild horses whose immune systems are not exposed to such pathogens in the wild as would be a domestic horse in a Kill pen. Sadly all officials involved seem to be stacking the cards against our wild horses. The Army will likely try to say Fort Polk horses are carriers, But the truth is they have delicate immune systems and were likely infected during the capture by being exposed to Kill buyers trailer, equipment, or the lack of pasture management in the holding pen on Fort Polk. Seemingly nothing was done by any official involved to ensure that the spread of disease was prevented. Officials in charge were aware that the Thompsons most likely caused an outbreak at the Jan 2018 Round Up # 4 but neither Fort Polk Officials, nor Texas State University, nor APHIS did anything to ensure that pasture was clean, nor did they relocate the holding area to another clean location nor did they take measures to ensure that future horses would not be exposed.
Begs the question; is it intentional or simple negligent?See article from Jan. 2018 Round Up. that these horses at the very least are not subject to kill buyers. In statement from Ron Anderson, Louisiana Senator Bill Cassidy’s aid; “I have close to 7000 of these e-mails – FYI” , it is apparent that the citizens of Louisiana and our Nation do not want these herds annihilated due to poor herd management, neglectful treatment, and a plan that does not consider the welfare of these animals, who are historically, culturally, and genetically significant. See Amicus Brief filed by Dr Phillip Sponenberg A statement in response to a concerned citizen from LDAF Assistant Commissioner, John Walther, on May 14th, 2018

“We appreciate your concern for the welfare of the horses at Fort Polk with their capture and relocation. Fort Polk is a Federal Enclave and not subject to many of our state laws. The United States Army has contracted with Texas State University for the relocation of these horses to rescue locations. The Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry has assisted the United States Department of Agriculture with sampling to test for Equine Infectious Anemia and Equine Piroplasmosis as these horses are an untested population. Thus far no Fort Polk horse have tested positive for either disease. In the event of a positive result the horse in question would not be eligible to travel. The Office of State Veterinarian within LDAF is charged with the control of diseases in animals. Concerns about handling of the horses should be addressed to the US Army or Texas State University.”

In a statement from Dr Diane Stacey LDAF State Vet, on May 17th, 2018

“I just received the report from Dr. Brandon and talked to area VMO Dr. Matt Traylor. These horses suspected of having strangles and exposed  horses will not be able to leave Louisiana until we get test results back. No veterinarian should  write a health certificate attesting to the health of sick or potentially sick horses and no state will allow sick horses into their state. We should get PCR results within a few days and we will sort things out then. But for now, these horses may not move. Thanks for your help, Diane Stacy, DVM”

Based on the Army’s chosen course of action, once State Vet releases horses after basic blood work, the 501(c)3 selected by the Army has 8 days to pick up horses from holding. After 8 days the Army will move to their “Give-Away Phase” and we all know that spells disaster for the horses.

See Army’s chosen course of action aka COA 7 is truly designed to benefit kill buyers.

Army initial claims a total of 700 back in 2015.This number is total of 2 areas that are approx 30 mins apart from each other.

These areas are
1.) Drop Zone on the main base
2.) Peason Ridge.

Originally, locals estimated approx. 300 on DZ and 150 on Peason.  So while initial totals are unclear.. its very clear that they army has absolutely decimated the herd on the Drop Zone.

Video documentation of the herds in the wild, as of end of April 2018

“Documented” round up numbers since COA 7 was implemented in 2016

RoundUp#1 by HSNT 50 10/2016
RoundUp#2 by HSNT 15 12/2016
RoundUp#3 by FRRR 18 12/2017
RoundUp#4 by FRRR 21 01/2018
RoundUp#5 by MFR/SLPAC 37 05/2018

That totals 141 horses “documented” removal since 2016 under Course of Action 7 aka COA7.

Its important to remember that prior to this it was basically a free for all and in the past Army officials admitted in a meeting on base that “a group of individuals were caught rounding up large groups of horses” and there have been several reports of “individuals taking horses out the backdoor”

Since the US Army’s 2015 public announcement to “eliminate” Louisiana’s Wild and Free Roaming horses, locals and advocates have been extremely concerned.  This proposed plan was immediately met with strong public resistance, however the Army at Fort Polk has continued to move forward with this plan for elimination; a plan most US citizens would certainly disapprove of.

Locals and advocates have pleaded with the Army to consider the welfare of these unique horses, however it seems our concerns have fallen on deaf ears.

Direct requests have been made to Army Officials from countless individuals and humane organizations; requesting that they refrain from working with individuals or organizations who would profit from the slaughter of these unique horses, specifically but not limited to Thompson Kill Pen in Pitkin, LA (aka THL,  Thompson Horse Lot, or Double S Kill Pen)

Sadly, the US Army and Civilian Officials managing this initiative have completely ignored direct request and public sentiment by subcontracting  with the Thompson’s of Pitkin, LA who are suspected to have been hired by the primary contract holder Texas State University, led by Todd Ahlman, Director of the Center for Archaeological Studies at Texas State University

Texas State University who was awarded 1.75 mil by Army Corps of Engineers.

“The Corps has awarded Texas State’s Integrated Natural and Cultural Resources Team (INCRT) with several task orders totaling $1.75 million. The INCRT is an interdisciplinary team of specialists from departments and programs across the university led by Dr. Todd Ahlman, the director of our Center for Archaeological Studies. The Texas State team will conduct archaeological surveys and support the management of cultural resources at U.S. Air Force bases and training facilities in eight states.”

See more here regarding TSU collaboration with Army Corp of Engineers…

Not sure how Todd Ahlman, TSU Director of Archaeology, can in good faith allow the decimation of herds of horses that are culturally, historically and genetically significant? See Amicus Brief filed by Dr Phillip Sponenberg in support of preserving and protecting the unique wild horses of Louisiana. Potential to endanger a species of horse that is already threatened, known as the Choctaw Horse

Contact Texas State University and demand that they cease collaboration with Kill Buyers, the Thompsons. Demand that they treat these animals humanely and ethically.

phone: 512.245.2724



Update 4/30/18: It is reported that approx 37 Horses are in the North Fort holding pen. The pen is approximately a half acre and is holding studs, mares and babies all together.

Several of horses in holding have wounds / deep lacerations on the pastern or fetlock area, possibly indicative of winching and/or roped and dragged by legs.

Additional documented injuries are as follows:

  1. Gray mare yellow puss coming out of fetlock wound
  2. Bay yearling can’t put weight on hind end
  3. Boss stud has laceration on neck
  4. Foals with out mothers: this is the 3rd round up that we know of where foals were captured without their mothers

Initially 9 horses were seen late last week and over night the count grew to 37 so these horses are likely to be in holding at another location before being brought to the holding pen located on North Fort Polk.
Pegasus’s witnesses and experts, including Dr. Brendan Batt, Dr. Tom King, Stacey Alleman McKnight, and Dr. Bruce Nock, as well as other local organizations have explicitly expressed that they are available to the Army for consultation and would love to help. The Army should also consult with Dr. Sponenberg (Amicus) and the Livestock Conservancy, as well as national groups like HSUS, state groups like COLAA, and organizations with wild horse experience including American Wild Horse Campaign.

The only way to find the best solutions is to engage in honest and open consultation with as many experienced people, experts, and local stakeholders. It is extremely unfortunate that the Army has chosen to ignore help and proceed with cruel and inhumane capture methods.

The horses are in immediate danger and urgently need veterinary care due to injuries sustained during unethical and inhumane capture.

Under Louisiana Criminal Law Statue § 14:102.1 it is a Crime to withhold veterinary care once the horses have been remanded into their custody.

Feel free to include the following in your message:

The Army’s capture methods have injured the Fort Polk horses, and failure to provide veterinary care now that the Army has captured the horses and are keeping them in a corral is an ongoing crime in Louisiana. The Army must hire an INDEPENDENT veterinarian, one not associated with the contractors who inflicted these injuries, to treat the horses’ wounds and provide ongoing care while they are in the Army’s possession:

A. (1) Any person who intentionally or with criminal negligence commits any of the following shall be guilty of simple cruelty to animals:

(c) Having charge, custody, or possession of any animal, either as owner or otherwise, unjustifiably fails to provide it with proper food, proper drink, proper shelter, or proper veterinary care.

(i) Mistreats any living animal by any act or omission whereby unnecessary or unjustifiable physical pain, suffering or death is caused to or permitted upon the animal.

(3) For purposes of this Subsection, if more than one animal is subject to an act of cruel treatment by an offender, each act shall constitute a separate offense.

La. Revised Statute § 14:102.1


Click Here: See photos of the 37 horses in holding as of 05/09/18
Photos taken at North Fort Polk Holding Pen 4/29/18-4/30/18
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Click Here to read more about LAWSUIT FILED TO PROTECT LOUISIANA’S WILD HORSES December 2016
View Legal Documents Here!
The remarkable beauty of one of Louisiana’s best kept secrets is threatened.
Go to @fortpolkhorsesPEGA for more info or
Contact Information

Amy Hanchey, President
Pegasus Equine Guardian Association
PO Box 82564
Lafayette, La 70598
Phone: (337) 739-0036
Machelle Lee Hall, La. Bar 31498

6329 Freret Street
New Orleans, LA 70118-6321
Phone: (504) 862-8819
Fax: (504) 862-8721
Counsel for Pegasus Equine Guardian Association

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3 replies »


    IT IS ORDERED BY THE COURT that the Motion of Dr. Phillip Sponenberg for Leave to File Amicus Curiae Brief of Dr. Phillip Sponenberg in Support of Plaintiffs, filed on April 16,
    2018 be GRANTED.

    Amicus Curiae Dr. Phillip Sponenberg and undersigned counsel, respectfully moves for leave to file Amicus Curiae Brief of Dr. Phillip Sponenberg in Support of Plaintiff and supporting Declaration of Dr. Phillip Sponenberg pursuant to LR 7.8 and LR 7.4.
    This brief provides the Court with background information that is intended to enrich the Court’s understanding of the genetic and cultural implications of the Army’s horse removal operation in the instant case. Amicus presents here an entirely new facet of the Plaintiff’s case, namely, the Army’s failure to consider the environmental and historical impacts that the horse
    removal operation will have on the Choctaw Horse strain and overall impact on worldwide horse genetic diversity. As described in the accompanying Memorandum in Support, impacts on genetic diversity of horse populations are regularly included in National Environmental Policy Act (“NEPA”) analyses and inform agency management plans and alternatives analyses of wild and feral horses. Further, the Army also failed to consider that Choctaw Horses are themselves historic objects and are eligible for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Place
    (“NRHP”) under the National Historic Preservation Act (“NHPA”).

    Click to access 04-16-18-dr-sponenberg-amicus-brief.pdf



    On January 17, 1961, President Dwight D. Eisenhower delivered his
    farewell address to the nation.1 That speech is famous for the President’s

    In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition
    of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the
    military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise
    of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the
    weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic
    processes. We should take nothing for granted.2

    Click to access 2014-07-Military-Environmental-Complex-55B-C-L-Rev-879-FINAL_4.pdf


  3. Wild Horses Could Slow Global Warming
    by Arthur Mac, from Forbes Magazine
    BLM Exterminates Wild Horses While Other Countries Reintroduce the Species
    Wild horses have returned to northern Siberia. So have musk oxen, hairy beasts that once shared the icy land with woolly mammoths and saber-toothed cats. Moose and reindeer are there, too, and may one day be joined by Canadian bison and deer.
    Later, the predators will come -Siberian tigers, wolves and maybe leopards.
    Russian scientist Sergey Zimov is reintroducing the animals to land they once roamed by the millions to demonstrate his theory that filling the vast emptiness of Siberia with grass-eating animals can slow global warming.
    His experiment is being closely monitored by wildlife experts around the world interested in the practice of rewilding natural areas.
    Climate change is felt most sharply in the Arctic, where temperatures are warming faster than anywhere else on Earth. Zimov is trying to re-create an ecosystem that disappeared 10,000 years ago with the end of the ice age.
    He believes herds of grazers will turn the tundra into luxurious grasslands. Tall grasses with complex root systems will stabilize the frozen soil, which is now thawing at an ever-increasing rate, he says.
    Herbivores keep wild grass short and healthy, sending up fresh shoots through the summer and autumn. Their manure gives crucial nourishment. In winter, the animals flatten snow that otherwise would insulate the ground from the cold air. That helps prevent the frozen ground, or permafrost, from thawing and releasing powerful greenhouse gases.
    Grass also reflects more sunlight than forests, a further damper to global warming.
    Zimov began the project in 1989, fencing off 40,000 acres of forest, meadows, shrub land and lakes. It is surrounded by 150,000 acres of wilderness.
    Zimov started with 40 Yakutian horses. Today he has 70 animals in the park and hopes to find funding to bring in thousands more.


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