Update: Status on Massive Former Wild Horse and Burro SD Rescue

Source: Wild Horse and Burro Sanctuary Alliance

It has been a long and difficult journey for the 907 horses that the State Attorneys in South Dakota found to be suffering from serious neglect last  October. From freezing temperatures and soupy mud, all of the unadopted horses healthy enough to make the journey have been relocated to a safe staging area in Colorado. (or to a new adoptive home.) We’ve come so far and we couldn’t have done it without you!

But we aren’t done yet! There are still 170 horses waiting to be adopted  and transported to their new adoptive homes, the Wild Horse and Burro Sanctuary Alliance members and partners continue to work hard to raise the $8,000.00 a week still needed to complete one of the largest horse rescues in U.S. history (bolded) as soon as possible.
Alliance members have been providing support to Fleet of Angels and its ground team by doing our part to raise funds for feed and care. With your help, and the support of the citizens and ranchers from Faith, S.D., 312 horses were relocated at the end of March to a well-equipped adoption hub in Ft. Collins Colorado.
Since last October, 712 of the 907 horses have been adopted minus some 24 horses that had to be euthanized due to medical reasons (like broken bones, cancer and other irreversible conditions). The numbers are staggering. It has been a challenge to get this far and it could not have been done without everyone’s help- every contribution and ‘share’ with friends has made a lifesaving impact.
The Wild Horse and Burro Sanctuary Alliance will continue to do what we can to raise funds to help cover feed and labor until all the horses reach new homes. Weekly costs for board, feed and laborare over $8,000.00. Thanks to contributions from the ASPCA, all Coggins costs have been covered and thanks to Shirly Puga/National Equine Resource Network and The Unwanted Horse Coalition, all gelding fees have now been covered! 
This is a team effort and without the support of The Griffin-Soffel Equine Rescue Foundation, The Humane Society of The United States, the ASPCA, the Wild Horse and Burro Sanctuary Alliance, Victoria McCullough, Best Friends, and every individual or group that has contributed, more than 600 horses would have been sold at auction last December, with most winding up hauled to Mexico or Canada for slaughter.
Since October, when a ruling of neglect was made against the International Society
for the Protection of Mustangs and Burros (ISPMB), an outpouring of generosity (has) made it possible to feed the horses and reimburse costs incurred by two South Dakota counties.
That allowed the counties to call off a planned public auction of the ISPMB horses at which many would have fallen into the hands of kill buyers, and feed the horses and ground crew. At the same time, adoptive homes were found for over 270 of the estimated 907 horses originally found on the ISPMB property, and the health of most of the others began improving. Since then, all but 170 horses have been placed with safe homes- but we need help. Every dollar helps make this possible.
Now, we need your financial contribution to cover the remaining cost of housing and care for the 170 horses who are still in need of adoptive homes. We need to cover costs for hay, facilities and labor this week.
We are grateful to EVERYONE who has chosen to be part of this effort and remain committed—with your help—to leave no horse behind.
On behalf of the Wild Horse and Burro Sanctuary Alliance, please help us in this final stretch of reaching that goal.
Thank you and please help today,

Fleet of Angels Update: WE’RE PACKIN’ UP AND MOVIN’!

by Elaine Nash

“…we have transported most of the 313 remaining horses to Colorado to our beautiful new adoption hub in Fort Collins.”

After a two-month long stay in Faith, SD- 30 miles from the ISPMB location, Barbara Joe Rasmussen and I are heading to Fort Collins, Colorado today to join the Hallelujah Horses and our new crew there for the final phase of this massive mission.
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Fleet of Angels launched this mission on October 14, 2016 at the request of the SD State’s Attorney. We all dove in and worked like mad to set up a workable process, and as a result, we were able to adopt out over 270 of the 900+ at-risk ISPMB horses by December 22, 2016- the number that was allowed by the court order that was in place at that time.
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We continued working to recruit adopters through the holidays, assuming that more horses would need us as soon as the state’s legal maneuverings allowed it. We returned to the project on January 26, 2017 when a new court order was put in place that removed all but 20 of the 600+ horses from ISPMB ownership and turned them over to Fleet of Angels to care for, manage, and find good homes for. (We were not involved in the legal aspect, but had offered to be a safety net for the horses if the courts removed them from ISPMB, to prevent their being sold at auction and the likely slaughter of most of them. In order to save them, we- thanks to a group of incredible donors, reimbursed the counties over $150,000.00 to prevent their being auctioned on December 20, 2016.)
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Now, five and a half months later- with the help of a LOT of people and organizations, we have adopted out and transported a total of almost 600 horses to approved homes, and we have transported most of the 313 remaining horses to Colorado to our beautiful new adoption hub in Fort Collins. (Our two shippers will make one more trip this week, and then all of the remaining horses will be in Colorado.) Of the 313 still under our care, about 175 horses still need homes (IF all pending adopters who have committed to take from two to a herd of 75 horses come through).
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For the month of April, we will be working to get the remaining horses adopted and transported, with the goal being to finish this mission by the end of the month of April. PLEASE HELP US IF YOU CAN. We need adoptive homes for 175+ horses, and we need funds to cover the costs of feed, facility use, ground team workers, lodging for some of the workers, and transportation. Literally every dollar helps, and every penny is pinched. 🙂 Our donation page is: www.ispmbhorserescuemission.org.
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Special thanks for helping us get this far, so far, to Neda DeMayo and Return to Freedom and the Wild Horse Sanctuary Alliance, Patricia Griffin-Soffel and the Patricia Griffin-Soffel Equine Rescue Foundation, ASPCA, Victoria McCullough and the Triumph Project, Lauri Elizabeth Armstrong and Chilly Pepper Miracle Mustang, Shirley Puga and the National Equine Resource Network, HSUS, and MANY OTHERS for helping us help these horses. Please help us finish this job, so every horse in this mission has a good, loving, lifetime home.

Teamwork works!

https://www.facebook.com/groups/ISPMB.Adoptable.Horses/permalink/1283727228384737/

FOUR ISPMB ‘HALLELUJAH HORSES*’ HEADING FOR FULL CELEB STATUS

by Elaine Nash as published on FaceBook

Animal Planet Here We Come

As I posted earlier, we saw 10 mares off on their several-month long journey to Alaska yesterday. Six of them will be going to the Chena Hot Springs Resort near Fairbanks. The other four have an even more exciting life ahead of them because they have been adopted by Dr. Dee Thornell, who’s featured as ‘Dr. Dee’ on the Animal Planet show, Alaska Vet. In addition to being a celebrity vet who flies to remote Alaskan villages to help animals of just about every sort, she is a horse driving enthusiast and well known national competitor. Dr. Dee asked me to select four big, beautiful bay mares from our herds for her, so they can be trained to become a competitive four-in-hand team. She hopes to show people all over the world that mustangs are very versatile, athletic, fast, and fun to show off!

Before heading north, the four big bay mares (real beauties!) will join the Chena Hot Springs Resort horses in WY for needed care, gentling, and training (and probably foaling) before heading up the AlCan highway this spring or summer to their new home with Dr. Dee!

CONGRATULATIONS, LADIES!
We’ll look forward to seeing you four on TV and cheering for Dr. Dee’s Hallelujah Horses!

Previous episodes of Alaska Vet can be seen at http://www.animalplanet.com/tv-shows/dr-dee-alaska-vet/.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/ISPMB.Adoptable.Horses/

WE STILL NEED LOTS OF HELP to get the rest of these horses cared for, placed, and transported by March 26th, our deadline. Still many horses to get out of there! Here’s how you can help:

DONATE: www.ISPMBHorseRescueMission.org

ADOPT:
Lots of nice, healthy horses still available. We also need adopters for dozens of BLIND HORSES, SENIOR HORSES, and STALLIONS (If adopting stallions, ask about the gelding subsity of $100. provided by the National Equine Rescue Network.)
https://docs.google.com/…/1FAIpQLSdXEVFZhWzY6qKuPr…/viewform

TRANSPORT:
We need as many adopters as possible to arrange for and transport your own horses. Time is of the essence at this point, and there’s not time nor manpower to arrange for a lot of individual Fleet of Angels transports for you at this point.

We also need teams of drivers who have large trailers (40′-ish) that are capable of hauling 15-20 horses at once, and who can take load after load until the end of the month.

*Hallelujah Horses is the nickname given by Fleet of Angels to the 810 horses impounded and seized from ISPMB (Int’l Society for the Protection of Mustangs and Burros) in South Dakota. Fleet of Angels was given custody of all the horses, so each horse could be properly evaluated, treated and cared for, adopted, and transported to a safe new home. www.FleetOfAngels.org

South Dakota Reaches Settlement Transferring Control of 520 ISPMB at-risk Horses to Fleet of Angels; Public’s Help Needed in Massive Rescue Operation

Source: Fleet of Angels

“The settlement sets the stage for one of the largest known equine rescue and adoption efforts in U.S. history…”

SD Horses South Dakota state’s attorneys have reached a settlement agreement with the International Society for the Protection of Mustangs and Burros that will transfer full control of 520 horses to Fleet of Angels, an equine welfare-related not for profit organization. After 810 horses were originally impounded on Oct. 11, 2016 by the court in Ziebach and Dewey Counties, a Fleet of Angels emergency event team- in a heroic effort headed by Palomino Armstrong facilitated the adoptions of over 270 horses that were transported from the ISPMB location in SD to new homes by Christmas, in spite of multiple challenging circumstances including blizzards, sub-zero temperatures, and logistical limitations.

The settlement sets the stage for one of the largest known equine rescue and adoption efforts in U.S. history by allowing the wild horses to be placed in safe homes rather than sold at auction, where they could have fallen into the hands of kill buyers who would transport them to Canada or Mexico for slaughter.

State’s attorneys in Ziebach and Dewey Counties on Jan. 5 filed a motion requesting that the management and placement of the horses be turned over to a suitable caretaker. Fleet of Angels, an organization that provides emergency assistance and transportation to at-risk equines in the United States and Canada, was asked by SD state’s attorneys to assume that role. Fleet of Angels has received a large number of applications for the 520 horses included in the settlement agreement.  The horses will be placed in approved homes, sanctuaries and rescues as soon as transportation can be arranged.  The organization’s goal is to have every horse in its new home within 60 days, after most of them are moved to a facility in Colorado that will offer a better climate, safer and better loading options, and more suitable conditions for the effort.

Fleet of Angels’ executive director Elaine Nash, who is spearheading the effort said, “After almost four months of working nearly around the clock to get these horses out of an extremely cold and inhospitable environment, it’s nice to now have the freedom to relocate them to a much more suitable adoption hub. We are preparing to relocate the horses to a facility where each horse can be properly vetted and readied for their adopters. or one of the participating Fleet of Angels transporters to pick them up and take them to safe, new homes.  When we say ‘Teamwork works’, we mean it!  Without the efforts of the many concerned people who are helping with this mission in a variety of ways, a massive emergency rescue like this could never be possible.”

Return to Freedom, an organization known nationally for its work with wild horses, has also played a vital role in providing solutions that averted an auction scheduled for Dec. 20, when where many of the horses likely would have been lost to the slaughter pipeline.

“RTF will continue to partner with Fleet of Angels and other Wild Horse and Burro Sanctuary Alliance members and partners to do what we can to facilitate the responsible placement of stallions, bonded horses and whole herds when possible,” said Neda DeMayo, president of Return to Freedom.

The Humane Society of the United States, the Griffin-Soffel Equine Rescue Foundation, and another national equine welfare organization generously contributed toward a fund to cover what the counties expended in feeding and caring of the horses since October, when state and local authorities impounded the 810 ISPMB wild horses following a finding of neglect. Their contributions made it possible to prevent the horses from going to auction.

The health of the wild horses varies. While some are in good condition, many are underweight.  Some also suffer from blindness or vision impairment.

Fleet of Angels and its partners, Return to Freedom and the Wild Horse and Burro Sanctuary Alliance members need the public’s support to pay for veterinary and farrier care, feed and transportation. Feed costs alone are $40,000 per month. That and other expenses will continue to mount — making donations absolutely critical to successfully getting these horses adopted to new homes.

The Fleet of Angels team has nicknamed the 520 horses that will be heading to new homes, ‘The Hallelujah Horses’.

For more background information, please click here [link to previous press release]

How the public can help

Feed and Care Fund: The public can support the wild horses while adoptions continue by donating to a fund created to for feed, veterinary care, and all other costs related the lifesaving mission for the ISPMP horses by donating to the Wild Horse and Burro Sanctuary Alliance.

Adopt:  Over 200 people have applied to adopt two or more of these special horses. However, Fleet of Angels and partners are hoping to get more of the horses adopted in family bands, larger groups and herds.  Anyone who is interested in adopting some of these horses in larger bonded groups please contact: Fleet of Angels at HoldYourHorses@aol.com or on the ISPMB Horses / Emergency Adoption Mission page on Facebook.

Transport:  (Update: 1-28-2017) To reduce travel distances for some of the horses and to reduce costs for adopters, all previously approved adopters who live in northern states, and transporters who cover that part of the country are encouraged to connect ASAP to make arrangements to have horses picked up from their current SD location before all the herds are moved to the new adoption hub in Colorado.  All other adopters are welcome to start working toward having their horses transported from western Colorado soon.  The exact location of the new adoption hub will be provided within a few days.

All approved adopters seeking discount transportation through Fleet of Angels can submit a Request for Transport Quotes at http://www.FleetOfAngels.org,  so transporters in their areas can reach out to them.  Adopters are also encouraged to use FOA’s Map of Angels and Directory, as well as the org’s networking page on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/groups/FleetOfAngels/  to make their transport needs known to FOA transporters.

http://www.fleetofangels.org/

Update on ISPMB Wild Horse Hearing

By Elaine Nash

16195789_10212724812901777_3398401177923305476_nThe hearing regarding final resolution to the ISPMB case- which was first scheduled for January 27 and then changed to January 26 and 27, has now been canceled. The State Attorney decided to make a deal with ISPMB, allowing them to keep some of the horses- from 12-30, we’re told. The terms will be official by the close of business today, we’re told Fleet of Angels and our partner organizations didn’t participate in the deal making, and had no voice in the negotiations. We will release an official statement as soon as we receive our copy of the new court order, so that we’ll be providing the most accurate information possible. In the meantime, the final points of the deal are being worked out between ISPMB attorneys and State Attorney. Anything said by others in the press or on social media right now is based on speculation.

We’re preparing to pick up the rest of the horses and relocate them to a new, much more appropriate adoption hub. That’s our big news, really, and we’re eager to share the details ASAP!

Although this new deal comes as a surprise to us, we are pleased that by the end of this mission, we will have been able to save approximately 96% of the ISPMB horses. Think about that- 96% of the horses will be leaving ISPMB very soon. With YOUR help, we’ll keep them fed and cared for while we work to get them to their new adoptive homes!

Failed Former Wild Horse Sanctuary Attempts to Derail Rescue Operations

By Elaine Nash

The TruthOnce again, for the record. . .

ISPMB is circulating a rumor that Fleet of Angel and our partner organizations are trying to take the horses away from ISPMB. As we have said before, we have made no effort whatsoever to take the horses from ISPMB, and we don’t plan to. Our role in this massive mission is to protect the ISPMB horses from auction and probably slaughter IF the judge does remove them from ISPMB. It’s not fun in any way, it’s not easy in any way, and it’s not profitable for us to be involved in this effort. It’s quite the opposite, in fact.
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In order to stop the auction of the horses that was scheduled for Dec. 20, we had to pay the hay bill that the counties, which was approximately $78,000.00. We did that. We also had to agree to cover the cost of hay and care going forward. We agreed to do that. We also had to agree to take the horses IF the judge ruled that ISPMB could not keep the horses, and we have also agreed to do that.
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Fleet of Angels and our associates do NOT ‘want’ the horses. What we do want is to do whatever we can to prevent any of the ISPMB horses from suffering or dying IF they are taken from ISPMB because of their inability to meet the requirements laid out in the court order that turned responsibility for feeding and caring of the horses over the the two SD counties the ISPMB is in. It is a massive commitment to accept and care for these horses while they’re being adopted and transported, and we’d love to not need to- but we may need to, in order to save them.
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We do not get involved in efforts to remove horses from anyone, but we do try our best to provide a safety net for horses that are at-risk of suffering or going to slaughter if they are in need of homes. In this case, we are willing to be the safety net for the ISPMB horses for long enough to allow their adopters to arrange for transportation for them to new homes- IF they are no longer owned by ISPMB, and need homes to go to.

The hearing on this matter is scheduled for this Friday, Jan. 27. If asked by the judge to take on Phase II of this mission, we will rely on you to help us help these horses. Thank you all for your support in this effort.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/ISPMB.Adoptable.Horses/permalink/1224558907634903/

Latest on Lantry SD Former Wild Horses: Court Showdown Looms

as published in the Rapid City Journal

“…if a judge approves the transfer of ownership, the two groups said, they will attempt to place the horses in safe homes…”

15894876_10212499251582885_2861906781713127176_nDUPREE | State and local authorities have filed a motion to permanently remove hundreds of wild horses from a troubled north-central South Dakota sanctuary, and lawyers on both sides of the case will make arguments to a judge later this month.

The motion, filed Thursday at the Ziebach County Courthouse in Dupree, seeks to transfer ownership of the horses to “a suitable caretaker.” The motion does not name the caretaker, but a pair of nonprofit organizations said in a joint release Friday evening that they would assume the role.

They are Fleet of Angels, a North American network of trailer owners that provides emergency assistance and transportation to at-risk horses, and Habitat for Horses, a rescue group based in Texas.

If a judge approves the transfer of ownership, the two groups said, they will attempt to place the horses in safe homes, including sanctuaries and rescue organizations. Another group, California-based Return to Freedom, would assist with the adoptions.

“This would be one of the largest known equine rescue and adoption efforts in U.S. history,” the release stated.

An estimated 540 horses remain at the small, overgrazed ranch of the International Society for the Protection of Mustangs and Burros (ISPMB) near Lantry, where 810 horses were impounded by state and local authorities in October following a finding of neglect by a state-employed veterinarian. Fleet of Angels already has overseen the adoption of 270 of the horses, the organization reported.

The horses have been under the care of Dewey and Ziebach counties since the impounding began. Court documents filed with Thursday’s motion say the counties have borne a total of $156,735 in costs, of which $52,000 has been covered by the ISPMB, $11,714 has been covered by donations to the counties and $15,000 has been covered by a grant from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, leaving the counties on the hook for $78,021.

According to the nonprofit groups that want to assume ownership of the horses, The Humane Society of the United States and other donors have contributed to a fund that will cover the counties’ remaining costs if the transfer of ownership is approved.

Court documents also show that the ISPMB has retained attorneys Nathan Chicoine and Quentin Riggins of the Gunderson, Palmer, Nelson & Ashmore law firm in Rapid City ahead of a hearing scheduled later this month before state Fourth Circuit Court Judge Randall Macy.

The ownership-transfer motion was filed jointly by Sherri Wald, deputy attorney general for the South Dakota Animal Industry Board; Steven Aberle, Dewey County state’s attorney; and Cheryl Laurenz-Bogue, Ziebach County state’s attorney.

Donations sought for care of wild horses

Ongoing costs to feed, care for and treat the 540 wild horses impounded in north-central South Dakota will be an estimated $40,000 per month, according to the nonprofit groups who want to assume ownership of the horses and find new homes for them.

The groups are encouraging donations to the Wild Horse and Burro Sanctuary Alliance, either online at wildhorsesanctuaryalliance.org or by mail to The Animals Voice, 1692 Mangrove Ave. #276, Chico, CA 95926.

Anyone interested in adopting a horse or horses is encouraged to contact Fleet of Angels by email at HoldYourHorses@aol.com or go to the ISPMB Horses/Emergency Adoption Mission page on Facebook.

When allegations of starving wild horses surfaced at a sanctuary in remote north-central South Dakota, it seemed like a stunning and sudden fa…

South Dakota State’s Attorneys File Motion Seeking to Transfer Control of At-Risk Wild Horses

Source: Fleet of Angels

“If the motion is approved, the wild horses would be placed in safe homes rather than sold at auction…”

black-stallion

A Black Stallion stands, snow encrusted, in sub-zero temps. with no shelter at ISPMB facility in Landry, SD

The South Dakota state’s attorneys in Ziebach and Dewey Counties have filed a motion requesting that a judge transfer to two equine welfare organizations control of 540 wild horses found starving and neglected at the International Society for the Protection of Mustangs and Burros in Lantry, S.D.

Filed in the Fourth Circuit Court of Ziebach County, the motion requests that management and placement of the horses be turned over to Fleet of Angels, an organization that provides emergency assistance and transportation to at-risk equines in the United States and Canada, and Habitat for Horses, an equine rescue based in Texas.

If the motion is approved, the wild horses would be placed in safe homes rather than sold at auction, where they could fall into the hands of kill buyers who would transport them to Canada or Mexico for slaughter. This would be one of the largest known equine rescue and adoption efforts in U.S. history.

Fleet of Angels has already received a large number of applications for the horses. During the adoption process, the horses would be placed in a variety of approved homes, sanctuaries and rescues. Options to keep some of the herds as intact as possible are also being pursued.

The court filing follows a unanimous vote on Dec. 22 by the South Dakota Animal Industry Board to recommend to the court that the horses at ISPMB be turned over to another animal organization or group of organizations in order to allow adoptions to continue.

In mid-October, State’s Attorney Steve Aberle asked Elaine Nash, Executive Director of Fleet of Angels, to conduct a national adoption campaign with the initial goal of placing one third of the 810 ISPMB horses. By Christmas, Fleet of Angels member Palomino Armstrong and team had gathered, sorted, and loaded the currently allowed limit of over 270 horses onto adopter’s trailers for their trips to safe new homes, despite difficulties caused by especially harsh winter weather. The Wild Horse and Burro Sanctuary Alliance helped supply hay, and generous contributions by Victoria McCullough made purchasing hay, needed panels and other critical materials possible.

On Dec. 10, a consortium of animal welfare organizations reached an agreement with the state’s attorneys in Ziebach and Dewey Counties that averted a planned auction of the remaining wild horses, to give them every chance possible at avoiding slaughter and reaching a good home.

County officials and the state Animal Industry Board approved the agreement.

The counties had planned to auction the horses to recoup the costs they had incurred. The auction would have taken place on Dec. 20 in Faith, S.D., but the participating animal welfare groups established a fund that would reimburse the counties instead. Participating organizations will continue to raise funds for the care and feeding of the horses during the second phase of the adoption process.

Return to Freedom will work with Fleet of Angels and Habitat for Horses to ensure that suitable homes for the horses are found. Return to Freedom, an organization known nationally for its work with wild horses, will be working to facilitate the placing of whole herds when possible, helping ensure that many family bands are kept together, and that stallion groups are placed responsibly.

fleet-of-angelsFleet of Angels and Habitat for Horses will work together with Return to Freedom will work together to ensure that suitable homes are found for the horses. Return to Freedom, an organization known nationally for its work with wild horses, will be working to facilitate the placing of whole herds when possible, helping ensure that many family bands are kept together, and that stallion groups are placed responsibly.

The Humane Society of the United States, another national equine welfare organization, and Patricia Griffin-Soffel contributed toward a fund to cover what the counties expended in feeding and caring for the horses since October.

About 540 horses are still in need of good homes. The ongoing cost of feeding the horses is estimated at $40,000 per month. Those costs will continue throughout the adoption mission. Public support through donations is critical to the success of this campaign.

The health of the remaining mustangs varies widely. While some are in excellent condition, many are underweight and most are infested with parasites. Some of the horses also suffer from blindness or vision impairment, the cause of which is still being investigated.

Fleet of Angels and their participating partners will offer post-adoption subsidies for gelding and other veterinary needs, as well as microchipping each of the horses.

How the public can help

Feed and Care Fund: The public can support the wild horses while adoptions continue by donating to a fund created to for feed, veterinary care, and other costs related the lifesaving mission for the ISPMP horses by donating to the Wild Horse and Burro Sanctuary Alliance or to a fund to assist with transporting horses to safe new homes at Fleet of Angels’ ISPMB Rescue Mission.

Adopt: It is critical that adoptions continue so that every horse can be successfully placed and transported safely to approved homes in the next few weeks. If you would like to help by adopting wild horses in pairs, groups, family bands, or herds please contact: Fleet of Angels at HoldYourHorses@aol.com or on the ISPMB Horses / Emergency Adoption Mission page on Facebook.

http://www.fleetofangels.org/single-post/2017/01/06/SD-state%E2%80%99s-attorneys-file-motion-seeking-transfer-of-ownership-of-at-risk-wild-horses

Correction: Court Asked to Transfer Ownership of ISPMB Former Wild Horses

Source: Timber Lake by Kathy Nelson

CORRECTION!!!  This story is not correct, the petition has NOT been filed.  The reporter is wrong.  Standby for further information!!!!

http://www.timberlakesouthdakota.com/articles/2017/01/04/court-asked-transfer-ownership-ispmb-horses

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.”