74 Wild Horses Torn from Freedom and Family

Source: Elko Daily Free Press

BLM removes 74 horses in eastern Nevada

photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

ELY – The Bureau of Land Management’s Ely District has concluded an emergency wild horse gather, removing 74 excess horses from public and private lands adjacent to U.S. Highway 93 and State Route 322.

The plan had been to remove approximately 100 horses from inside and outside the Eagle and Silver King Herd Management Areas in eastern Nevada. The BLM removed 31 wild horses from between Pioche and Eagle Valley, and 43 wild horses from the Bennet Springs area southwest of Panaca.

Horses removed from the range were transported to the BLM’s Indian Lakes off-range corrals located in Fallon, to be prepared for the BLM’s adoption program.

Un-adopted wild horses will be placed in long-term pastures where they will be humanely cared for and retain their “wild” status and protection under the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act. The BLM does not sell or send any wild horses to slaughter. (yeah, right)

Top Wild Horse Article of 2016

Forward by R.T. Fitch, article by Debbie Coffey

“Happy New Year to everyone, it is our most sincere hope (and plan) to make a real difference for the wild horses and burros in 2017 and we are thinking out of the box and have a few things in the works at Wild Horse Freedom Federation that no one else has ever tried before so stay tuned, it is going to get interesting.

I planned to put up the most popular article of 2016 for your reading enjoyment (and should do it soon before I get too deep into an industrial sized mug of Wrangler Iced Tea) but as it turns out, the number one and most popular article in 2016 is one that Debbie Coffey wrote and published in January of 2015…the stats are unbelievable. On an average the article is viewed, at a minimum of an astounding 4,000 times a week with a total of 221,312 views in 2016 and 274,450 times in 2015.  Jaw-dropping!

The article is about Ree Drummond and her husband who make millions off the backs of captured horses while they warehouse and use them as a backdrop for her cooking show and products.  It obviously touched a nerve among the mindless and uninformed as Deb and I receive hate mail on a regular basis but it IS the truth and they ARE wealthy due to your tax money and the mismanagement of the wild horses by the BLM.  Deb and I have thick skin so the hate does not dissuade us but instead motivates us to dig into this situation even deeper and again, 2017 might be quite an interesting year.

Please take a few moments and read the article and form your own opinion as the information is as valid today as it was two years ago.

Again, Happy New Year and be sure to hug all of your critters, be they in the pasture or in the house…the future is ours.!” ~ R.T.

Multi-Millionaire Cowpoke Ladd Drummond, whose little “missus” is Ree Drummond (The Pioneer Woman), rakes in Taxpayer Dollars

by Debbie Coffey                      Copyright 2015                   All Rights Reserved.

It has been 2 1/2 years since the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) last gave the public a tour of any BLM Long Term Holding Pastures, which are used to warehouse once wild horses that were rounded up by helicopters used by BLM contractors and permanently removed from America’s public lands.  So much for the BLM’s claim of transparency.

Millions of readers follow Ree Drummond as she blogs about ranch life, her children, and her husband, whom she calls Marlboro Man. Photograph by Sylvia Plachy.   Millions of readers follow Ree Drummond as she blogs about ranch life, her children, and her husband, whom she calls Marlboro Man. Photograph by Sylvia Plachy. (Source: The New Yorker)

Ladd Drumond, his brother Tim and their dad, Charles, are partners in Drummond Land and Cattle, which has a BLM contract for Long Term Holding pastures for our wild horses.  Ladd is married to “The Pioneer Woman,” Ree Drummond, a Food Network cooking show host/blogger/photographer/cookbook author who writes folksy blogs about her life on their ranch in Oklahoma.  Kind of like she’s a pioneer woman.  Except in real life, Ree is wealthy and has both a house and a nice lodge on her ranch.  (Nothing like the real pioneers, who had to trod across the plains in a covered wagon.)

In a 2013 article on Modern Farmer about America’s 100 Top Landowners (“The who’s who of modern American land moguls”) the Drummond family was listed as #17 (the 17th largest landowner in the U.S.), with “433,000 acres.”

While some of this land may belong to other Drummond family members, Ladd and the little missus are getting by.

It was estimated that Ree’s blogsite income was about a million dollars or more per year just from display advertisement alone.  She also makes dough from her Food Network cooking show, her cookbooks,  her book, the movie option based on her book “Black Heels to Tractor Wheels,” based on her life (and persona) as “The Pioneer Woman.”…(CONTINUED)

Please click, below or above, to view the original article and the hundreds of comments!


What a Bunch of BLM Bull-Puckey!

Forward by Grandma Gregg

This decision “should” have been appealed!

Take a look at Appendix “G” of the Research EA Final where the BLM ignores all public comments … including:

Public comment 15. Individual

“Per the DOI/BLM herd stats the Frisco HMA wild horse population jumped to 67% in the last year and the Conger HMA wild horse population jumped to 83% last year! See chart below “(in the comment letter).

BLM spreading more propaganda and false news

BLM spreading more propaganda and false news

It is biologically impossible since mares give birth to only one foal per year at the MOST and stallions and foals (up to reproductive age of about 3 years) do not provide foals and therefore do not add to the annual population. As I stated, this annual population increase is physically unattainable in the wild.”

Part of the BLM response to above (BLM did NOT respond to the 67% and the 83% population increases!):

 “The BLM utilizes well established scientific methods in the field of range monitoring, inventory and carrying capacity allocations, following approved methods outlined in official technical references and BLM handbooks and manuals. The CCFO and FFO have extensive vegetative trend, utilization, precipitation, actual use, riparian, and rangeland health studies which are contained in the Conger and Frisco HMAs and allotment monitoring files (4120 and 4710 files). Only the most current pertinent information has been summarized within this EA to show that excess wild horses occur within and outside, but adjacent to the HMAs. BLM use population growth rate not Birth Rate. The population inventory that was conducted in February of 2016 used simultaneous double-count method. Photos were taken of each band of horses that were observed. Photos, GPS coordinates and time of recorded observance were used to eliminate from the data any horses or bands that were double counted.”
—– Forwarded Message —–
From: “Reid, Lisa” <lreid@blm.gov>
Sent: Friday, December 30, 2016 10:04 AM
Subject: Fwd: BLM News Release: BLM to Begin Frisco Wild Horse Gather, Removal and Research Public Welcome to Observe Gather Operations
For public information.  Thanks, Lisa
News Release
 Utah State Office, Utah
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                              Contact:  Lisa Reid (435) 743-3128 Dec. 30, 2016
BLM to Begin Frisco Wild Horse Gather, Removal and Research
Public Welcome to Observe Gather Operations
CEDAR CITY,Utah—The Bureau of Land Management Cedar City Field Office will soon be gathering and removing excess wild horses from within and outside the Frisco Wild Horse Herd Management Area (HMA) in western Utah.
The BLM will gather approximately 150 and remove 90 excess wild horses from the Frisco HMA to achieve a research population of an estimated 100 animals on the HMA.  Some horses will be fitted with tracking devices and returned to the range as part of a research project.  This will provide data on free-roaming horse locations and movement to help the BLM improve understanding of herd behavior.
Helicopter drive-trapping operations are scheduled to begin Friday, Jan. 6.  Members of the public are welcome to view the daily gather operations, provided the safety of the animals, staff and observers are not jeopardized and operations are not disrupted.
The BLM will conduct escorted public tours to gather observation sites.  Details will be announced daily on the BLM gather hotline, (801) 539-4050.
Those interested in participating should meet at the KB Express Convenience Store/Subway at 238 South Main in Milford, Utah, where tours will depart at 6:30 a.m. MST.
Participants must provide their own transportation, water and food.  The BLM recommends footwear and clothing suitable for harsh winter field conditions.  Binoculars and four-wheel drive, high clearance vehicles are also strongly recommended.  Please note that no public restrooms will be available once the tour begins.
Public lands will remain open unless closures are deemed necessary due to safety concerns.  Outdoor recreationists and visitors to the gather area should be aware that there will be low flying helicopters and should avoid recreational use of drones near the Frisco Mountain area.  Brief road closures may also be needed to allow movement of horses during gather operations.
Gather updates and information will be posted at:  http://bit.ly/CongerFriscoGat her .  Anyone interested can get updates on Twitter by following @BLMUtah or searching #CongerFriscoGather.
Animals removed from the range will be made available for adoption through the BLM Wild Horse and Burro Adoption Program.  Those that are not adopted will be cared for on off-range pastures, where they retain their protection under the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act.

Details on the EA and the gather can be found on the BLM’s planning documents website: https://goo.gl/pNIggw .      More information on the population control research project is available from the BLM’s Fillmore Field Office at (435) 743-3100.

To learn more about the wild horse and burro program or to obtain an adoption application, visit the BLM National Wild Horse and Burro website at:  http://on.doi.gov/2h11lDS .
For additional information on participating in public observation days, contact Lisa Reid, public affairs specialist, at (435)743-3128 or lreid@blm.gov. Persons who use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) may call the Federal Relay Service (FRS) at 1-800-877-8339 to leave a message or question for Lisa Reid.  The FRS is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Replies are provided during normal business hours.
The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land, the most of any Federal agency. This land, known as the National System of Public Lands, is primarily located in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The BLM’s mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations.  In Fiscal Year 2015, the BLM generated $4.1 billion in receipts from activities occurring on public lands.
Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Flickr @BLMUtah
To download file click (HERE)

BLM planning for non-viable wild horse herds in Wyoming

Antelope Hills Roundup in Wyoming, Fall 2011 (photo by Carol Walker)
Be sure to read the BLM’s scoping notice HERE.
Notice that the numbers for all HMAs but one are far less than the 130-150BREEDING AGE ADULTS that Equine Geneticist Dr. Gus Cothran states is needed for a VIABLE HERD.  AND, as a special bonus to developers gobbling up the dirt cheap oil & gas leases on these HMAs, not only will the BLM leave horses at the low AML (a non-viable number) they also plan to give fertility control to the mares.  BLM continues to manage to extinction.
BLM Seeks Input on Proposed Wild Horse Gather in North Lander Complex
The Bureau of Land Management Lander Field Office is requesting public input prior to analyzing a
proposed wild horse gather in the North Lander Wild Horse Complex.
The North Lander Complex is located in southeast Fremont County and is made up of the Conant Creek, Dishpan Butte, Muskrat Basin and Rock Creek Mountain herd management areas.
Population surveys conducted in August 2016 found approximately 1,026 horses within the
North Lander Complex.  The appropriate management level (AML) of the complex, which is the
population that can be supported by the public land in balance with other multiple uses of those lands,
is 320-535 horses.
The proposed operation would include gathering wild horses and conducting fertility control treatments to
bring the population of the complex back to its AML.  The anticipated date of the gather has not yet been
Public input is valuable early in the process and will enable the BLM to develop a well-informed
environmental assessment.  Comments should be received by January 31, 2017, and may be emailed to
WY_North_Lander_Gather@blm.gov or mailed to Clay Stott, BLM Lander Field Office, 1335 Main
Street, Lander, WY 82520.
Before including your address, phone number, email address or other personal identifying information in
your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment – including your personal identifying
information – may be made publicly available at any time. While you can ask us in your comment to
withhold your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be
able to do so.
For more information, including a map of the complex, visit http://bit.ly/2017_North_Lander_Gather, or
contact BLM Wild Horse and Burro Specialist Clay Stott at 307-332-8400.

BLM Double-Talk Targets CO West Douglas Wild Horses, Again.

The few remaining wild horses in Colorado just can’t catch a break.  For years we fought via lawsuits to stop the assault and efforts of the BLM to zero out the few horses in the area (in favor of cattle and extraction interests).  But even after they managed to decimate the herd and break apart the families of wild horses, last year, they still launch propaganda and a mush-mash of bogus numbers and misstatements to ramp up ire towards the equines while they contradict themselves through-out this mainstream media mouthpiece.  It is all truly unbelievable…if we, as advocates, pushed forward such tripe and BS we would be flogged and assailed by the powers that manipulate the press to the point that we would never be relevant again.

False News at it’s finest, or should we say lowest?” ~ R.T.

Unedited story by By Gary Harmon as published on The Daily Sentinel

Wild horse herd reduced a year ago is already growing again

A mare watches as she and her foal walk through the sagebrush in the Texas Mountain area west of Colorado Highway 139 south of Rangely in August 2015.

A mare watches as she and her foal walk through the sagebrush in the Texas Mountain area west of Colorado Highway 139 south of Rangely in August 2015.

A year after the Bureau of Land Management removed 167 horses from the lands around Texas Mountain west of Colorado Highway 139, the herd has grown, possibly to as many as 212 horses.

The agency conducted a horse gather in September 2015 for the 167 horses, an effort that left about 200 horses in the 128,000-acre West Douglas Herd Area, which is not managed for horses.

BLM officials conducted a count five months later using a helicopter and made a direct count of 177 individual horses.

Factoring in reproduction brings the estimate to 212 horses on land that the BLM deems suitable for a maximum of 30 horses.

“If anything it’s probably an underestimate,” BLM spokesman David Boyd said. “In country like West Douglas, you probably don’t see them all.”

In theory, there ought not be any horses in the rugged West Douglas area for the lack of summer range in the rough-and-tumble territory, but the lack of predators for wild horses leaves man to deal with their populations.

The natural predators of horses — dire wolves, short-faced bears, American lions — all died out in the Eocene Epoch, which ended 39 million years ago, along with the horses of that time. Once horses were reintroduced to North America, there were no predators to control their populations.

“What’s controlled these wild horse populations has been people all along,” Boyd said. Wild horses “are not part of this natural ecosystem.”

No more gathers are scheduled in the West Douglas areas, but the BLM hopes eventually to gather all the wild horses in the West Douglas Herd Area, along with an estimated 100 outside any territory associated with wild horses, and place them in the 161,300-acre Piceance-East Douglas Herd Management Area.

“We want to bring the population inside the Piceance-East Douglas Herd Management Area to within the population range of 135 to 235,” Boyd said.

Piceance-East Douglas is now estimated to have 458 wild horses.

West Douglas and Piceance East Douglas are separated by Colorado Highway 139, and more significantly, miles of fencing along the roadway. Wild horses won’t jump fences, which means the horses won’t leave West Douglas without human help.

To keep the existing herd on the Piceance-East Douglas area, the BLM plans to reconstruct nearly a mile of four-strand barbed wire near Duck Creek to keep the herd inside and to redevelop a spring on the north side of the management area to provide a reliable source of water in wet and dry years.

Breaking News: BLM Soliciting Nominations for Wild Horse and Burro Slaughter Advisory Board

reported by R.T. Fitch

“We were attempting to keep only good news and articles flowing during the holiday season but this announcement just broke, today.

Currently Ginger Kathrens is the only qualified person serving on the present board and she is, likewise, the only member to vote against butchering tens of thousands of wild horses that the BLM has illegally captured and currently  confines at taxpayer expense.

Ginger is the token advocate, while the rest are all special interest, per-screened appointees that are interested in only horse slaughter, welfare ranching, hunting and personal affirmation.

If you could recommend anyone to stand with Ginger, fat chance, who would you pick…we can play this exercise, again.

Brainstorm away….” ~ R.T.

Banner from America’s Wild Horse Advocates (AWHA) with Melissa Ohlsson, Vice President of AWHA as artist

Banner from America’s Wild Horse Advocates (AWHA) with Melissa Ohlsson, Vice President of AWHA as artist

[Federal Register Volume 81, Number 248 (Tuesday, December 27, 2016)]
[Pages 95177-95178]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2016-31216]


Bureau of Land Management


Call for Nominations for the National Wild Horse and Burro 
Advisory Board

AGENCY: Bureau of Land Management, Interior.

ACTION: Notice.

SUMMARY: The purpose of this notice is to solicit public nominations 
for three positions on the Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board (Board) 
that will become vacant on April 3, 2017. The Board provides advice 
concerning the management, protection, and control of wild free-roaming 
horses and burros on public lands administered by the Department of the 
Interior, through the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), and the 
Department of Agriculture, through the U.S. Forest Service.

DATES: Nominations must be post marked or submitted to the address 
listed below no later than February 10, 2017.

ADDRESSES: All mail sent via the U.S. Postal Service should be sent as 
follows: Division of Wild Horses and Burros, U.S. Department of the 
Interior, Bureau of Land Management, 1849 C Street NW., Room 2134 LM, 
Attn: Dorothea Boothe, WO-260, Washington, DC 20240. All mail and 
packages that are sent via FedEx or UPS should be addressed as follows: 
Wild Horse and Burro Division, U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau 
of Land Management, 20 M Street SE., Room 2134 LM, Attn: Dorothea 
Boothe, Washington, DC 20003. You may also email PDF documents to Ms. 
Boothe at dboothe@blm.gov.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Dorothea Boothe, Acting Wild Horse and 
Burro Program Specialist, 202-912-7654. Persons who use a 
telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) may call the Federal Relay 
Service at 1-800-877-8339 to contact the above individual during normal 
business hours. The Service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. 
You will receive a reply during normal business hours.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Members of the Board serve without 
compensation. However, while away from their homes or regular places of 
business, Board and subcommittee members engaged in Board or 
subcommittee business, approved by the Designated Federal Official 
(DFO), may be allowed travel expenses, including per diem in lieu of 
subsistence, in the same manner as persons employed intermittently in 
government service under Section 5703 of Title 5 of the United States 
Code. Nominations for a term of three years are needed to represent the 
following categories of interest:

Natural Resource Management
Wild Horse and Burro Research
Public Interest (Equine behavior)

    The Board will meet one to four times annually. The DFO may call 
additional meetings in connection with special needs for advice. 
Individuals may nominate themselves or others. An individual serving on 
another resource advisory council is not eligible to serve concurrently 
on the Board. Any individual or organization may nominate one or more 
persons to serve on the Board. Nominations will not be accepted without 
a complete resume. The following information must accompany all 
nominations for the individual to be considered for a position:
    1. The position(s) for which the individual wishes to be 
    2. The individual's first, middle, and last name;
    3. Business address and phone number;
    4. Home address and phone number;
    5. Email address;
    6. Present occupation/title and employer;
    7. Education (colleges, degrees, major field of study);
    8. Career Highlights: Significant related experience, civic and 
professional activities, elected offices (include prior advisory 
committee experience or career achievements related to the interest to 
be represented). Attach additional pages, if necessary;
    9. Qualifications: Education, training, and experience that qualify 
you to serve on the Board;
    10. Experience or knowledge of wild horse and burro management;
    11. Experience or knowledge of horses or burros (Equine health, 
training, and management);
    12. Experience in working with disparate groups to achieve 
collaborative solutions (e.g., civic organizations, planning 
commissions, school boards, etc.);
    13. Identification of any BLM permits, leases, or licenses held by 
the individual or his or her employer;
    14. Indication of whether the individual is a federally registered 
lobbyist; and
    15. Explanation of interest in serving on the Board.
    All nominations must be accompanied by at least one letter of

[[Page 95178]]

reference sent from special interests or organizations the individual 
may represent, including, but not limited to, business associates, 
friends, co-workers, local, State, and/or Federal government 
representatives, or members of Congress as well as any other 
information that is relevant to the individual's qualifications.
    As appropriate, certain Board members may be appointed as special 
government employees. Special government employees serve on the Board 
without compensation, and are subject to financial disclosure 
requirements in the Ethics in Government Act and 5 CFR 2634. 
Nominations are to be sent to the address listed under the ADDRESSES 
section above.
    Privacy Act Statement: The authority to request this information is 
contained in 5 U.S.C. 301, the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA), 
and 43 CFR part 1784. The appointment officer uses this information to 
determine education, training, and experience related to possible 
service on a BLM advisory council. If you are appointed as an advisor, 
the information will be retained by the appointing official for as long 
as you serve. Otherwise, it will be destroyed 2 years after termination 
of your membership or returned (if requested) following announcement of 
the Board's appointments. Submittal of this information is voluntary. 
However, failure to complete any or all items will inhibit fair 
evaluation of your qualifications, and could result in you not 
receiving full consideration for appointment.
    Membership Selection: Individuals shall qualify to serve on the 
Board because of their education, training, or experience that enables 
them to give informed and objective advice regarding the interest they 
represent. They should demonstrate experience or knowledge of the area 
of their expertise and a commitment to collaborate in seeking solutions 
to resource management issues. The Board is structured to provide fair 
membership and balance, both geographic and interest specific, in terms 
of the functions to be performed and points of view to be represented. 
Members are selected with the objective of providing representative 
counsel and advice about public land and resource planning. No person 
is to be denied an opportunity to serve because of race, age, sex, 
religion, or national origin. The Obama Administration prohibits 
individuals who are currently federally registered lobbyists to serve 
on all FACA and non-FACA boards, committees or councils. Pursuant to 
Section 7 of the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act, members of 
the Board cannot be employed by either Federal or State governments.

(Authority: 43 CFR 1784.4-1, 43 CFR 1784.6-1)

Kristin Bail,
Assistant Director, Resources and Planning.
[FR Doc. 2016-31216 Filed 12-23-16; 8:45 am]


A Former Wild Stallion’s Letter to Santa

By “ACE’ one of the last Wild Stallions of Twin Peaks

Dear Santa-


Recent photo of Ace (right) taken by Jamie Joling

I am an old wild stallion. I am told that I am one of the last Twin Peaks stallions. I have had a wonderful life as Mother Nature planned for me from the very day I was born. I lived the first 22 years free and wild and learned from my sire and dam and siblings and family what was good for me to eat and where to find the fresh water springs that are hidden in the hills. I romped and played with the young colts and fillies in my extended family. Under the watchful protection of our family members, we young horses frolicked in the snow and creeks and rested in the shade of the old Juniper trees in the heat of the summer. Life was very good. I later grew to be a healthy, robust and compassionate herd stallion with beautiful loyal mares and amusing vigorous offspring. Although I now have a good “retirement” life in a home with other displaced animals, my life in the wild was perfect for a wild one like me!

Although I live for today, I often warmly think about the “good old days” when hundreds of we wild ones roamed free. Where are my wild friends that I knew those many years? Where are my mares and foals today? Why was our family torn from each other and our peaceful and natural world destroyed? I have over-heard humans say that our life in the wild was traded for money. Santa, what is money? Could it possibly be more important than our wild hearts and lives and families and land?

I know you are very busy Santa, but today I am asking you to help all creatures that have not been as lucky as me. I have heard that there are fewer and fewer wild horses and burros that are allowed to live wild and free.   I do not understand this but I do know it is wrong. What I am asking from you is for you to watch over and protect all animals and help them to be able to live their lives as Mother Nature intended for them. Do not allow them to be chased and trapped and caged and starved and abused and killed.

Santa, I will continue to dream of my days gone by but I am asking you today to watch over all creatures great and small and to teach all human beings to think with their hearts.

Thank you, Santa.

– “ACE”


Counties, State Seek to Strip Alleged Sanctuary of Neglected Former Wild Horses

Story by as published on the Rapid City Journal

“Something to TRULY warm our hearts this holiday season.  The horses may FINALLY have a chance and it is about FLIPPING TIME!  Thank you Elaine and all the folks who have selflessly worked behind the scenes.  You are all angels and we love you for all that you do.” ~ R.T.

5800dff80a381A state board took the first step Thursday toward permanently removing hundreds of wild horses from a troubled north-central South Dakota sanctuary and finding new homes for them.

Members of the South Dakota Animal Industry Board met by teleconference and authorized their attorney to seek a court order. The order would transfer horses owned by the nonprofit International Society for the Protection of Mustangs and Burros to the ownership of another suitable caretaker.

The horses have been temporarily impounded — but are still under the society’s ownership — since October at the society’s small and overgrazed ranch near Lantry, about 150 miles northeast of Rapid City. Authorities in Dewey and Ziebach counties, which share a border that is straddled by the ranch, have been caring for the horses at the expense of the counties’ taxpayers.

 The impounding was motivated by a public complaint, which led to a state-employed veterinarian’s finding that the horses were suffering from neglect. In addition, a former society employee publicly alleged that some horses were dying of starvation-related causes.

There were 810 horses at the ranch when the impounding began. That number has since dwindled to around 540 through adoptions or sales arranged between private parties and the society, Dewey County State’s Attorney Steve Aberle said Thursday in a Journal phone interview.

Terms of the impounding agreement allowed authorities to cap private adoptions and sales at 270 horses, because county officials wanted some horses to remain as collateral against the costs of the impounding. Some of those costs have been reimbursed by the society and by public donations and grants, but Aberle said that an estimated $75,000 remains outstanding, mostly from hay purchases.

Reimbursement for those remaining costs could be negotiated as part of a transfer of ownership, Aberle said. There is a consortium of concerned groups that had proposed a deal to take ownership of the horses, find adoptive homes for them and reimburse the counties, but Aberle said the society did not respond to that proposal.

The same deal with the same consortium, or a somewhat similar deal, could be sought in the proposed court order for transfer of ownership.

“It’s still a possibility,” Aberle said. “It would be up to them and (subject to) court approval.”

Aberle declined to identify the members of the consortium, saying they wish to remain anonymous for now.

 Efforts of some groups seeking better homes for the horses have been visible on social media. One such group is Fleet of Angels, a nonprofit network of trailer owners that provides transportation and assistance for at-risk horses in the United States and Canada.

Fleet of Angels founder Elaine Nash said Thursday in a phone interview that her all-volunteer organization has coordinated the adoption effort so far, spending the past two months working through winter weather to gather and send 270 horses to dozens of new owners nationwide.

Screened applicants adopted two to 20 horses apiece. Nash said the new owners of the horses include individuals who hope to train them for riding, rescue organizations that will try to find appropriate homes for them and sanctuaries where the horses might live the rest of their lives.

Nash, who splits her time between New York and Colorado, declined to say whether her organization will have a role in the proposed transfer of ownership, but she said as opposed to the uncertain future the horses were facing, “Things are looking much better for (them) now.”

Aberle said the counties and the Animal Industry Board’s attorney will jointly seek a court order to execute an ownership transfer. A time and date for a hearing on the request is yet to be scheduled. Aberle said the hearing is likely to take place at the Ziebach County Courthouse in Dupree.

The counties and the state board previously granted the society opportunities to earn some or all of its horses back from the impounding by reimbursing the counties and by providing evidence of feed or funding sufficient for 18 months of operations. The society failed to fully reimburse the counties and produced no evidence of further funding by the deadlines set in the impounding order, Aberle said.

Efforts to reach the society’s president, Karen Sussman, via phone and email messages were unsuccessful Thursday.

Authorities had scheduled a public auction of the society’s horses for earlier this week but postponed it indefinitely. Wild-horse advocates had feared that an auction would draw bids from foreign slaughter plants. The horses are either all rescues or descended from rescues.

State Veterinarian Dustin Oedekoven said Thursday in a phone interview that transfers of ownership have been pursued in other impounding situations, but he called the transfer of such a large number of animals “unique.”

“We always prefer to work with the owner to have them be responsible for providing for the care of their animals and managing them in a responsible way,” Oedekoven said. “Short of that, a sale or transfer of ownership has been done in the past in order to care for the animals properly.”

BLM to begin rounding up wild horses in Nevada

BLM "caring" for Nevada wild horses ~ photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

BLM “caring” for Nevada wild horses ~ photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

SOURCE:  Capitalpress.com

BLM to begin rounding up wild horses in Nevada

The agency will remove up to 50 wild horses from between Pioche and Eagle Valley and another 50 from the Bennet Springs area southwest of Panaca.

ELKO, Nev. (AP) — The Bureau of Land Management says it’s rounding up 100 wild horses in eastern Nevada for public safety reasons.

The Elko Daily Free Press reports that the animals are being removed by a helicopter along U.S. Highway 93 and State Route 322. The roundup is being conducted this week within and outside the Eagle and Silver King Herd Management Areas.

The agency’s Ely District will remove up to 50 wild horses from between Pioche and Eagle Valley and another 50 from the Bennet Springs area southwest of Panaca.

The BLM is aiming to remove horses that have wandered outside the two management areas in search of forage.

The animals will be taken to an agency corral in Fallon, where they will be offered up for adoption.

BLM Suspends Wild Horse Stampede in Sand Wash Basin CO until Next Year

Story by Sasha Nelson as published on Steam Boat Today.com

“Wild Horse bands will be together for the holidays and then their freedom and families will be forever destroyed!”

— The Bureau of Land Management has suspended until Jan. 3 the bait-trap operation used to gather wild horses in Sand Wash Basin.

“We are taking a break from the gather for the holidays until Jan. 3, when we will resume,” said BLM Public Affairs Specialist for the Northwest Colorado District, David Boyd.

Sand Wash Basin is located roughly 45 miles west of Craig and is home to nearly 600 wild horses, roughly twice the number allowed in the BLM management plan for the area.

To help control the horse population, BLM contractor Cattoor Livestock Roundup Company has been trapping horses using hay as bait.

They plan to remove 50 young horses from the herd and to treat 200 mares with PZP birth control.

In order to administer birth control, BLM must capture the mares, give them a fertilization vaccination and release them back into the basin.

Horses that are captured and do not need treatment or are not eligible for removal are released.

The gather started in early November, and so far, BLM has captured 117 horses, Boyd said.

They have released 83, including 12 mares treated with birth control, and a total of 34 young horses have been transported to BLM’s wild horse holding facility in Cañon City, Boyd said.

“Twelve of the 34 horses were shipped to Cañon City Tuesday — nine studs and three mares, all in good condition,” Boyd said.

BLM is receiving help from the Sand Wash Basin Advocacy Team (SWAT) — the on-range program of the Great Escape Mustang Sanctuary.

More information about adopting Sand Wash Basin horses is available from the SWAT Facebook page.