‘Horrific incident’: Family Speaks Out after Pet Dog Killed by ‘Cyanide Bomb’

By Shelbie Harris as published on The Idaho State Journal

“While at first glance this sad story might not appear to have much to do with wild horses and burros but it most certainly applies, with spades.  Some time ago, myself and fellow investigators from Wild Horse Freedom Federation were documenting BLM Contract long term holding facilities when we came across one contractor’s property, used to house former wild horses, with prominent signs indicating that like poison devices were in use on the very same property that captive wild horses were grazing.  To date, this finding haunts us as we continue to seek ways and means to stop the barbaric removal of protected wild horses and burros from their congressionaly approved, rightful range.” ~ R.T.


Signage on BLM contractor’s property housing former wild horses. (Click to Enlarge) ~ photo by R.T. Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

POCATELLO — As he walked his dog along the ridgeline of the hillside just south of his family’s home on West Buckskin Road, 14-year-old Canyon Mansfield noticed what he thought was a sprinkler head protruding 6 inches from the ground.

Like many curious teenagers would, he bent down and touched the pipe, which erupted with a loud popping noise that knocked Canyon off his feet. A hissing sound ensued and Canyon noticed his clothing and face were covered with an orange, powdery substance. After quickly washing his face and clothes in a nearby patch of snow, he called for his dog, a 3-year-old Lab named Casey.

But Canyon’s best friend didn’t respond.

“He just stayed on the ground mumbling,” Canyon said. “I thought he was playing with his toy, but I saw the toy a couple yards away from him. … So, I called him again and got really scared. I sprinted toward him and landed on my knees and saw this red froth coming from his mouth and his eyes turning glassy and he was having a seizure.”

Within minutes, Casey was dead.

“My little brother is lying in bed crying next to me,” said Canyon’s sister, Madison Mansfield. “He spent yesterday in the emergency room after stumbling upon an unmarked cyanide bomb in the woods directly behind my home. He watched his best friend suffocate as sodium cyanide was deposited in his mouth.”

Canyon was taken to Portneuf Medical Center, where he was treated and released. But he must continue daily follow-up appointments to check toxicity levels.

On Thursday afternoon, Casey joined thousands of other non-targeted animals — both wild and domestic — that have been mistakenly killed by one of the most lethal tools at the disposal of the U.S. Department of Agriculture — spring-loaded metal cylinders that are baited with scent that shoot sodium cyanide powder into the mouth or face of whatever or whoever touches them.

Known as M-44 devices, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) division of the USDA deploys these sodium cyanide capsules throughout the West to protect livestock from coyotes, wild dogs, and red and gray foxes.

M-44s are hollow metal tubes 5 to 7 inches long that are driven into the ground, loaded with 0.9 grams of sodium cyanide and coated with the smelliest bait possible…(CONTINUED)

http://www.idahostatejournal.com/outdoors/xtreme_idaho/horrific-incident-family-speaks-out-after-pet-dog-killed-by/article_93f3d07e-6ecb-5035-8d39-f27c791eb4b5.html

BLM Will Not Move Captive Oklahoma Wild Horses Despite New Dust Bowl Threat

Story by Steven Long ~ publisher/editor of Horseback Magazine

“Wild horses are *not* being taken in the dead of night from long-term pastures to slaughter…?!?”

Private, Closed to the Public, BLM Long Term Holding in Oklahoma ~ photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

HOUSTON, (Horseback) – Little has changed in the federal Bureau of Land Management’s handling of wild horses under its Wild Horse and Burro Program, this in spite of the worst drought affecting Midwestern states since the dust bowl of the 1930s. What’s more, nothing will change, despite a threat from nature that could put thousands of animals in jeopardy.

Asked by Horseback if the BLM was making any special arrangements to move wild horses held captive in giant pastures in Oklahoma and Kansas, national BLM spokesman Tom Gorey responded:

“Despite the current drought conditions in the Midwest, wild horses on long-term pastures continue to thrive,” he said. “If current weather conditions do not change, pasture contractors may have to begin supplemental feeding earlier than normal.  Therefore, these wild horses will have the advantage of having someone that can address their immediate needs.”

The BLM holds tens of thousands of horses in giant pastures in Oklahoma and Kansas.

Horseback also asked Gorey if the press and public would be given unlimited access to the secretive boarding procedures at the privately contracted pastures. Recently the magazine has had increasing anecdotal reports of horses being removed from those pastures in cattle trucks to be sent to slaughter in Canada and Mexico.

Such reports may be pure fantasy since no animal advocates have actually trailed or photographed trucks carrying horses from BLM’s private secretive pastures to slaughterhouses abroad. Moreover, there have been few substantiated reports of horses in slaughterhouses with the distinctive BLM neck brands.

“Wild horses and burros removed from the range are branded immediately,” Gorey said. “Wild horses are *not* being taken in the dead of night from long-term pastures to slaughter, as I’ve stated before.  This is a myth.  Wild horses are branded by the BLM after they are gathered from the range.”

Yet the rumors persist and come from credible sources near BLM holding facilities.

“With regard to public and media access, you no doubt are aware that we have started annual pasture tours that are open to the press and public,” Gorey said.

The tightly controlled pasture tours the spokesman mentioned are of limited duration and are held only intermittently.

“ 24/7 access is not possible because the pastures are privately owned,” Gorey said.  “As I mentioned, there are currently no emergency situations at our contracted pastures.”

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BLM Long Term Holding: Wild Horse Heaven or Hell

(In My Own Words) by Terry Fitch ~ Chief Photographer “Horseback Magazine

Pretty to the Eye – Sterile to the Soul

Tulsa, OK  Nov 11, 2010 – (SFTHH)  The much anticipated “press day” for the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM)  Long Term Holding Tour started out by meeting at the Hilton Garden Inn Hotel (Airport) at 8:00 am in Tulsa, OK.  Debbie Collins, National WH&B Marketing Specialist; Lili Thomas,Wild Horse & Burro Program Specialist; Pat Williams, WH&B Facility Manager; Art from the Media Division of the BLM; Janet Jankura, Public Interest Representative from the BLM National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board; two gentlemen reporters from Tulsa World and me.

We drove for about an hour and a half where we stopped and picked up 3 more people along with a local film crew (Channel 6). We continued on our journey until about 10:45 when we got to our first destination. The ranch was located out in the middle of virtually nowhere.  We could see herds of wild horses before we even entered the ranch. I must admit, it was very picturesque; like something out of a movie. We were greeted by Ladd Drummond of Drummond Land & Cattle Co., a fourth generation rancher. The Drummond family (according to The Land Report) owns approximately 120,000 acres which, according to Debbie Collins of the BLM, 24,292 of those acres are dedicated to the approximately 3400 wild horses living out their lives on this land.

If I didn’t know the first thing about wild horses, I would say that this is a paradise for the horses; however, I do know a little something about wild horses. The BLM attempts to portray this living arrangement as a paradise for the horses with their videos of the horses frolicking through the pastures.  If these were domestic horses, it would be a perfect environment; but, they’re not. They are wild horses that belong in the wild.  I guess; however, it is better than the alternative feed lots and 3-strikes $25.00 sales to kill buyers.

While all looks completely natural to a non-horse person, you soon realize that the mares and geldings are living in separate facilities; hence, no family units. The reason, according to the BLM, is that some of the geldings could still reproduce due to Cryptorchidism and other such oddities; therefore, foals were being born, adding to the alleged problem.

The ranchers, per Ms. Collins, are paid $1.35 to $1.50 per head, per day.  For these 3400 horses, that equals to $4590-$5100 per day or $1,675,3500-$1,861,500 per year.  Out of these moneys, the ranchers are required to pay for everything from feed, hay, pasture maintenance, fencing, vet care, etc. In addition, they are required to provide chutes to unload the horses and small corrals to acclimate them to their new environment.  From there, they are moved to a paddock and then to their final pasture.

The horses are vaccinated, only once, when ‘processed’.  After that, they virtually live out their lives as ‘wild’ horses. Once the horses are at the long term facility, there is no hoof care nor vaccinations. The BLM does, however, require there to be adequate amounts of rocks in the pastures so that the horses wear their hooves down naturally.  A potential long term facility must add rocks to their pastures in order to be accepted into the program.  At the two facilities we visited, both had rocks in the pastures and, from what I could tell, their hooves looked naturally worn. There were natural water sources such as ponds and creeks, along with water troughs.

The ranchers seed and fertilize the pastures along with ‘managed burns’, if necessary. And, to help them sustain in the winter months, the horses are supplementally fed pellets along with hay. Of course, being in captivity, it doesn’t take them long to recognize the feed truck and chase it, which they did in our presence.

All in all, it’s the perfect place for domestic horses not wild horses that are ripped from their family bands, separated by gender, and living their days out.  The horses do live longer in captivity.

There are 16 such long term facilities; 10 of which are in Oklahoma.  The BLM plans to add 4 more next year for a total of 20 facilities in 5 states.

The second facility was a reiteration of the first facility; only there were 2500 horses on 19,295 acres.

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