“Once Again, Wild Horses and Burros just cannot catch a break!!!”
A federal judge decided Friday not to rein in the roundup and capture of wild horses in eastern Nevada, rejecting advocates’ claims the federal government was “needlessly and recklessly” killing free-roaming mustangs in violation of U.S. law.
With a little more than four weeks to go for federal land managers to complete what they call a drought-prompted “gather” near the Utah state line, U.S. District Judge Miranda Du said she wasn’t convinced groups trying to stop the process would win their underlying lawsuit.
“The court finds that plaintiffs have not shown they are likely to succeed on the merits of their claims and that the balance of equities in this instance weighs against enjoining the 2022 gather,” she said.
The U.S. Bureau of Land Management insists it must round up the mustangs before the end of February — one of several operations scheduled on an expedited basis due to historically dry conditions on the Western range.
Maggie Smith, a Justice Department lawyer, told the judge on Wednesday that a delay of even two or three days would prevent the agency from completing planned removals before the end of the year.