Horse News

Anger and Regret in Removal of Douglas County Wild Horses

By Ed Pearce as published on KOLO TV

“The Fish Springs area in the Pine Nut Mountains east of Carson Valley, NV is home to several bands of wild horses…”

Rikki nuzzles little Sam…Photo courtesy of Pine Nut Wild Horse Advocates

But unlike other populations elsewhere in Nevada, these horses are closely, even intimately monitored and supported by a dedicated group of advocates who watch over them and, in their own way, help manage them including their own efforts to control their population through birth control.

It’s a stewardship with a big following. These horses have tens of thousands of followers on social media. They have names, histories, family structures followed on line by people thousands of miles away.

Each year some make their way to Douglas County and hire local wildlife photographer John Humphrey to take them on a tour to see them in the flesh.

“They know them by name and once these people get up close, they’re in tears. They love these horses.”

The horses are free to range and can, on occasion wander into rural neighborhoods.
When they do the Pine Nut Wild Horse Advocates say they’re ready to help. An offer the post on rural mail boxes.

“Call us first before you call the federal government,” says group member Mary Cioffi. “There’s no reason to get them involved in an issue that locals can resolve.”

But that didn’t happen when DeVere Henderson saw a half dozen of them in his yard recently. He says he was aware of plans to remove a certain number of horses from the area and there they were. So, he called the BLM. His life hasn’t been the same since.

“My phone started ringing at 6:30 in the morning. “Why are you doing this? You don’t understand. You should be ashamed of yourself.”

Angry messages came from as far away as Australia.

It was even worse closer to home. Henderson was a member of the county planning commission and was up for reappointment.

He was not reappointed.

He now says he wasn’t fully aware of the offer by the advocate group to help residents with any problems and might have done things differently. But what he set in motion apparently can’t be undone.

Twenty one horses in all were removed. Among them a striking roan stallion. The subject of many of Humphrey’s photos, instantly recognizable by thousands of followers, he had a name–Samson.

At the BLM corrals he’s merely horse 5054. But even here there he and the others aren’t treated the same.

All the rest of the hundreds of horses there are available for adoption any day, but though their advocates say they have adoptive homes for all of them. the Pine Nut horses are being held for special treatment.

Their adoption will be subject to an online auction next month. The reason? Ironically it’s their very popularity.

A BLM spokesperson admits they might bring a higher price than the standard adoption fee, but she insisted that wasn’t the reason. Instead, she said, it’s a matter of fairness.

Apparently a fan of the Pine Nut horses in say Virginia or Ohio should have an equal chance to adopt one.

That may be the final disappointment for Cioffi’s group.

“We have asked the BLM not to put them on the online auction. We don’t want them to go to the highest bidder. We want them to go to the best home.”

Wherever they end up the greatest impact of their removal will be on the future of the Pine Nut Wild Horse population.

“When you reduce the population you want to do it intelligently. You want to remove a few horses from each family. When you remove whole families, you contribute to inbreeding.”

In any case, those genes are already lost. Samson and the other stallions have already been gelded.

So, no one walks away from this a winner, except perhaps the bureaucratic policies which are being upheld and strictly followed.

What’s ahead for the horses themselves is anyone’s guess. Their advocates would at least like to know they are going to owners who appreciate what they are and know how to handle them.

It’s not easy to gentle an adult mustang who knows nothing of life in a pasture.

And after a year a successful adopter owns the formerly wild horse. If little can be done with them, there’s nothing to stop them from being sold to slaughter as some have been.

12 replies »

  1. These wild horses should have been returned to their range but instead the BLM even gelded Samson. They will never be the same . As for gentling them all it takes is patience , understanding and love. They do not have to be trained –just let them be horses and be their friend.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. What a loss to the gene pool AND those horse’s lives. I live in the East but quite honestly, how is it fair to “give this opportunity” to people who dont understand that these horses deserve to have what they’ve always had – freedom. The people who have watched over & protected them do understand. Just because they are well-known across the country does NOT mean the BLM has the right to profit from them at the risk of the horse’s lives. And thats exactly what this means. Too bad this article doesnt allow comments!!

    Liked by 2 people

    • I agree with your sentiments, but it is true that the BLM actually DOES have the right to remove and sell of our wild horses, more or less whenever they decide they “need” to. This is a broken system that serves nobody but a hidden handful of profiteers, against the will and at the expense of the public who is paying for it, and the wild horses who pay most of all.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. DeVere Henderson should have spoken with neighbors concerning the wild horses on his property.You should be ashamed of yourself for calling the BLM.I understand it only takes 1 complaint to BLM concerning the wild horses.You solidified their fate.Did you not know there were bands of wild horses in your area when you bought your property.I truly hope some of the horses can be rescued,and saved from slaughter.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I live there & this has caused so much hate & discontent in our once wonderful community. We moved to Fish Springs because of the wild horses. We moved a little farther down the road because too many DeVere Henderson types were moving in & building their ridiculous “look at me” houses. You should see it now. At the meeting ,at the firehouse, shortly before all this happened, I knew something was up. The BLM is always cocky, but Colleen Dulin & her co-hort were almost giddy. Sure enough here we are in a big mess! The BLM needs to be dismantled & “we the people” need to demand it!! They work for us, not the other way around. They have no accountability, manage nothing, are corrupt, cruel, liars 🤬🤬🤬 I plan to fight them any & every way I can!! I am not alone!! Bring it on 2020!!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. How can I help.I did save Sarge, can’t go there again, but can help a serious Adopter if they need help~ Regards, Chris

    On Sat, Dec 28, 2019, 4:58 AM Straight from the Horse’s Heart wrote:

    > R.T. Fitch posted: “By Ed Pearce as published on KOLO TV “The Fish Springs > area in the Pine Nut Mountains east of Carson Valley, NV is home to several > bands of wild horses…” But unlike other populations elsewhere in Nevada, > these horses are closely, even intimately m” >

    Liked by 1 person

  6. The World’s Biggest Lawsuit: Juliana v. United States
    Posted on July 25, 2019 by Lambert Strether

    “Plaintiffs are beneficiaries of rights under the public trust doctrine, rights that are secured by the Ninth Amendment and embodied in the reserved powers doctrines of the Tenth Amendment and the Vesting, Nobility, and Posterity Clauses of the Constitution. These rights protect the rights of present and future generations to those essential natural resources that are of public concern to the citizens of our nation. These vital natural resources include at least the air (atmosphere), water, seas, the shores of the sea, and wildlife. The overarching public trust resource is our country’s life-sustaining climate system, which encompasses our atmosphere,waters, oceans, and biosphere. Defendants must take affirmative steps to protect those trust resources.
    309. As sovereign trustees, Defendants have a duty to refrain from “substantial impairment” of these essential natural resources. The affirmative aggregate acts of Defendants in the areas of fossil fuel production and consumption have unconstitutionally caused, and continue to cause, substantial impairment to the essential public trust resources. Defendants have failed in their duty of care to safeguard the interests of Plaintiffs as the present and future beneficiaries of the public trust. Such abdication of duty abrogates the ability of succeeding members of the Executive Branch and Congress to provide for the survival and welfare of our citizens and to promote the endurance of our nation.

    310. As sovereign trustees, the affirmative aggregate acts of Defendants are unconstitutional and in contravention of their duty to hold the atmosphere and other public trust resources in trust. Instead, Defendants have alienated substantial portions of the atmosphere in favor of the interests of private parties so that these private parties can treat our nation’s atmosphere as a dump for their carbon emissions …”.…/the-worlds-biggest-lawsui…

    Liked by 1 person

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