Breaking News: Wild Horses Sold to Kill Buyer by BLM Contractor

by Debbie Coffey PPJ Investigative Reporter ~ Copyright 2013 All Rights Reserved
Director of Wild Horse Affairs ~ Wild Horse Freedom Federation

“I’m told not to talk about this kind of stuff.”

While the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has been trying to convince the public that the BLM does not sell wild horses to slaughter, Wild Horse Freedom Federation has obtained proof that a BLM Long Term Holding contractor sold wild horses directly to kill buyer Joe Simon, who is well known for sending horses to slaughter, and who owns JS Ranch (“Farms”) in Perkins, Oklahoma.

To give you a little background, the BLM uses lame excuses to remove wild horses from their federally protected Herd Management Areas while letting other “uses” take over.  For instance, BLM claims wild horses cause “degradation” to the range, but then allow oil and gas drilling (and fracking) on the same land.  The BLM uses helicopters to round up the wild horses, then puts the horses in short term holding facilities, maintenance facilities, and ultimately, ships horses to same-sex long term holding pastures, where the public is led to believe the horses spend the rest of their lives.

Jim Reeves and Lyle Anderson own Spur Livestock, and have a contract with the Bureau of Land Management for a long term holding pasture for wild horses on private lands within the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation in South Dakota, as well as on Indian Trust Lands administered by the Bureau of Indian Affairs.  This facility is the Whitehorse Wild Horse Long Term Holding Facility.

Wild Horse Freedom Federation received records from the South Dakota Brand Board that reveal on 11/8/2008, while under contract with the BLM, “owner” Spur Livestock sold 34 horses with “BLM tattoos” to JS Farms, owned by kill buyer Joe Simon.

Animals Angels has written about kill buyer Joe Simon (scroll down to the 2nd article “What is the Price Tag for Suffering”)

It is important to note that state brand boards do not “recognize” BLM freezemarks  (which BLM puts on the left side of wild horses’ necks after they are captured) as official “BRANDS,” so the state brand board inspectors may completely ignore the BLM freezemarks and instead, note that wild horses have “NO BRAND.”

It is also important to note that if someone BUYS a wild horse from the BLM, they can then put their own brand on the horse, and state brand board inspectors may then note only the new brand in their records (since it is “recognized”) and NOT the BLM freezemark (which they don’t “recognize”) which would identify a horse was a wild horse on public records.  State brand inspectors can omit any traces of wild horses on their official records.

On the Spur Livestock 11/8/2008 sale (besides the fact that 34 horses with “BLM tattoos” were sold), the words “Freeze brand” are written under the brand symbol for the other 36 horses in this sale (a total of 70 horses).  The words “Freeze Brand” aren’t written under this brand symbol on any other Local Ownership Inspection Certificates, or under any other brand symbols.

Another important detail stands out.  In looking at over 3 years of Local Ownership Inspection Certificates of horses by Spur Livestock, Jim Reeves and Spur Livestock, this sale of 70 horses seems to be the largest sale of horses.

Looking at the fact that Spur Livestock claimed itself to be the “Owner” of the wild horses on this South Dakota State Brand Board Local Ownership Inspection Certificate, did Spur Livestock claim to own the wild horses that the BLM warehouses on this property?  Or were these horses the wild horses that Jim Reeves BOUGHT from the BLM?

BLM Sales records obtained through a Freedom in Information Act (FOIA) request indicate Jim Reeves bought 72 wild horses (2 truckloads) from the BLM about one and two months before he sold the 34 BLM wild horses with BLM freezebrands and 36 branded horses directly to Joe Simon.

On 9/9/2008, Jim Reeves bought 36 geldings, ages 11-13, from the Canon City Maintenance Facility (prison) in Colorado.

On 9/23/2008, Jim Reeves bought 36 mares, ages 11-12, from the BLM’s Palomino Valley BLM holding facility in Nevada.

Jim Reeves already had wild horses on his property, including younger horses, and he could easily have arranged to buy 72 of those wild horses.  So why would he buy 72 wild horses from Nevada and Colorado and pay shipping costs (or make the BLM pay shipping costs with your tax dollars) to have them shipped out to South Dakota?

On the Sales Questions Document (application) form for Spur Livestock, a handwritten note at the bottom of page 1 claims: “Horses will be used as pack animals.”

Pack Animals? 

How easy do you think it would be to train 11-13 year old wild geldings (castrated stallions) to be pack animals?  If he was so knowledgeable about wild horse behavior, why wouldn’t he have bought younger horses that would’ve been easier to train?

In a telephone conversation with Jim Reeves, when asked about the 72 horses he bought as pack animals, he said “I’m told not to talk about this kind of stuff.”  He said “I can’t talk about this” and “That’s BLM business.”

There’s more

While the information below may not involve any wild horses, it seems to show that Jim Reeves, Lyle Anderson and Spur Livestock have sold horses directly to slaughter buyers more than once.   (However, keep in mind that BLM freezemarks can be noted as “NO BRAND” and a new brand may be added and recognized as the ONLY brand, so the public has no absolute proof that these horses were NOT wild horses, either.)

In reviewing other South Dakota Brand Board records of Spur Livestock, Jim Reeves and Lyle Anderson, horses sold included:

12/4/08 – 48 “No brand” horses were sold by Jim Reeves, and 2 “No Brand” horses by other Reeves family members, to Rusty Williams in George West, Texas. (not a known kill buyer)

2/25/09 – 31 branded horses belonging to Jim Reeves and other Reeves family members were sold directly to slaughterhouse Canadian Premium Meats, Lacombe, AB, Canada.

11/18/09 – 9 “no brand” horses and 3 horses Jim got only 6 days before (on 11/12/09) from Jess Starr of Dupree, SD, were sold to kill buyer (Randy) Musick of Mitchell, SD.

11/18/09 – Jim Reeves sent 19 horses, including horses owned by Reeves family members, 3 branded horses Spur Livestock got from Vernon Starr of Dupree, SD only about 10 days before, 3 branded horses Jim Reeves got from Larry Long only 17 days before, and 6 horses from Jeff Hunt (Jim Reeves got 3 of these horses on 10/3/09) to kill buyer (Randy) Musick of Mitchell, SD.

7/17/12 – Lyle Anderson sent 2 horses, (1″No Brand” horse and a palomino mare noted “Brand no registered.  Horse comes from No Brand Area.” to an unknown buyer (the buyer line was left blank) in Pueblo, CO.

Canon City Prison – a BLM “Maintenance Facility”

Oddly, in reviewing FOIA documents of “Animals Shipped” out of the Canon City (Prison) Maintenance facility, and comparing these to FOIA documents on BLM sales, in September, 2008, when Jim Reeves bought the 36 wild horses, records from Canon City Correctional Facility indicate that no horses were shipped out in September, 2008, and only 1 horse the following month (October, 2008), and only 33 horses the month after that (November, 2008).  So did the 36 horses that Jim Reeves bought from the BLM at this facility just walk past a SWAT team and out a back door?

This was not the only discrepancy in Canon City Maintenance Facility records.  Tom Davis bought 120 horses in January, 2009, and Harry Vold bought 36 horses that same month (120+36 = 156), but Canon City records indicate only 4 horses were shipped out in January, 2009.

Tom Davis (only one of many this month) bought 111 horses in March, 2009, but Canon City records indicate only 77 horses were shipped out in March, 2009.

This goes on and on and on…the numbers don’t add up.  I hope the person who’s counting the wild horses isn’t the same person who’s counting the prisoners.

My call to Mr. Fran Ackley (Program Lead for the BLM Wild Horse and Burro Program in Colorado) for clarification on this issue was not returned.

So what, exactly, is “BLM business?”

Question #17 on Jim Reeves’ BLM sales question document was “Do you intend to resell these animals?  An X was typed in the YES box.

Right off the bat, the person in the BLM sales office should’ve wondered who the horses would be sold to, and for what purpose, really.

It was odd that although all of the answers were typed, there were handwritten notes at the bottom of the page indicating the horses were to be used as pack animals.  It seemed like an afterthought.  Did Jim Reeves write this?  Or did a BLM employee write this?  The document wasn’t signed, either.  The BLM seems to keep very sloppy legal documents.

On the Bills of Sales for the horses Jim Reeves bought, above the line that indicates Authorized Officer, the words “Virtual Migration Person” was typed in.  Who was this?

It is also unusual that the BLM’s contract with Spur Livestock (NAC070071) was dated 4/9/2007 and signed by BLM’s contracting officer, but this was almost 2 months BEFORE the Environmental Assessment (EA) was issued (July, 2007).  Usually, EAs have to be completed to determine whether or not a federal undertaking would significantly affect the environment, before a project can go forward.  Did the BLM jump the gun and skirt NEPA requirements?

Spur Livestock 

The base year (2007) of the Spur Livestock 5 year contract with the BLM was for $506,250.  Looking at, it seems Spur Livestock has made $2,952,210 since 2007.

(Links to Spur Livestock contracts are included at the end of article.)

  • Jim Reeves also received $198,604 in USDA subsidies 1995-2011.
  • Reeves is a member of the West Central Cattlemen’s Association in South Dakota.
  • Reeves’ wife, Janna, is the office manager for the South Dakota Cattlemen’s Association, and
  • Janna’s sister, Jodi Hickman, is the Executive Director of the South Dakota Cattlemen’s Association.
  • In 2010, horse slaughterhouse pusher Sue Wallis’ now defunct United Organizations of the Horse claimed that the South Dakota Cattlemen’s Association made a “financial contribution” to the pro-horse slaughter cause.
  • Jim and Janna Reeves, along with Jodi Hickman, are principals in the 3J Cattle Company.
  • Jim Reeves’ brother is Tom Reeves, Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame Saddle “Bronc” rider.
  • Jim Reeve’s partner in Spur Livestock, Lyle Anderson, has had a string of business ventures which the South Dakota Secretary of State now lists as “inactive.”
  • Anderson also owns Anderson Construction, LLC, which is listed in the Secretary of State records as “Delinquent.”
  • Lyle Anderson is also listed as the owner of Anderson Ranches Partnership.
  • Lyle Anderson received $260,110 in USDA subsidies 1995-2011.

In August, 2012, Reeves and Anderson appealed a decline of their application for the U.S. Small Business Administration Business Development Program.

While the BLM cons the public into believing that the captured wild horses live out their lives on long term holding pastures, it seems that the BLM knowingly allows middlemen to cover their tracks in a pipeline of wild horses going to slaughter.

What the BLM consistently seems to “maintain” is fraud against the American taxpayer in its Environmental Assessments, a long history of inhumane handling of wild horses, lack of oversight and accountability, a waste of tax dollars, and lies to both the public and Congress, so every aspect of the Bureau of Land Management’s Wild Horse & Burro Program needs to be investigated in a long overdue Congressional Investigation.

Joe Simon Invoice

(Debbie Coffey and Wild Horse Freedom Federation thank Animals Angels for their assistance with this investigation.)

SOURCES: (Scroll down to 2nd article: “What is the Price Tag for Suffering?”)

SPUR Livestock contracts: “”&HYPERLINK “”sortp=rHYPERLINK “”&HYPERLINK “”detail=3HYPERLINK “”&HYPERLINK “”datype=THYPERLINK “”&HYPERLINK “”reptype=rHYPERLINK “”&HYPERLINK “”database=fpdsHYPERLINK “”&HYPERLINK “”fiscal_year=HYPERLINK “”&HYPERLINK “”submit=GO


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BLM “News Release”Fraud?

Story by Debbie Coffey (copyright 2011) from the PPJ Gazette

“Why shouldn’t we write or call our Congressmen and BLM management officials?   American soldiers fought and died so that you would be free to do this.  BLM POLICIES are set at THE TOP by Congress, and by Secretary Ken Salazar of the Department of the Interior, and by Bob Abbey, Director of the Bureau of Land Management.  Call and write to them. ”


Photo by Laura Leigh

A Bureau of Land Management (BLM) News Release (the BLM seems to be using the word “news” loosely here) dated 5/28/10 with Lisa Reid and Dean Bolstad listed as contacts, was a BLM announcement of the final public tours at Indian Lakes Wild Horse Facility.

This BLM release states: “Indian Lakes is a privately-owned and operated  facility, was never intended as a public facility and isn’t staffed to serve the public.  As a result, staff from other offices have been taken away from priority work and unplanned costs have been incurred.”

The most important question is “WHY would a government agency use OUR money to put something publicly owned (OUR wild horses) on PRIVATE PROPERTY, where we can NEVER HAVE ACCESS to them again?” Isn’t this like stealing?

I filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request and asked for a list of staff taken from other offices, for a list of the priority work they were taken away from and for a list of and the amount of money spent on the “unplanned costs.”  I received a letter from Paulette L. Sanford of the Department of the Interior dated 10/6/2010, and was told “There is no itemized list or record of the amount of money spent on the unplanned cost” and “there is no list or record of staff who were detailed to work at the Indian Lakes Facility away from their priority work.”  

I also asked for any prior meeting notes and telephone conversation notes regarding the statement that Indian Lakes Road was “never intended as a public facility.”

I received a contract modification for the Indian Lakes Road facility (AKA Broken Arrow USA) dated 3/22/2010 and signed by Troy Adams, for two hour public tours to be held once a week for the period of 1/01/2010 – 12/31/2015!  So apparently, 5 days before the “news release,” and only 3 days before the e-mail below, a contract was signed for future public tours of the Indian Lakes Road facility for the next 5 years.  Why would the BLM prepare and have a contract signed for something that they never intended to happen?

I also received a copy of an e-mail dated 5/25/2010, from Dean Bolstad, Deputy Division Chief of the Wild Horse and Burro Program, to (other BLM personnel) Edwin Roberson, Bud Cribley and Don Glenn, with a copy to John Neill, Lili Thomas, Lisa Reid, Doran Sanchez, Ron Wenker and Amy Leuders.

In this, Bolstad states:

“We now have a favorable Calico Court decision and we need to seriously consider the toll that these tours are taking on our employees, our resources and the damage that is being done to BLM’s image as a result of the tours.”

“John Neill’s and our veterinarian’s reputability is seriously being compromised by the fall out from the Indian Lakes tours.”

“The impact of stopping the tours pales in comparison to the impact to our employees and BLM’s image.”

“…the Churchill County Sheriff’s Department began an investigation following a complaint of alleged inhumane treatment of an animal at Indian Lakes.”

So, what prompted this investigation?

Photo by Laura Leigh

The public had many concerns, over a long period of time and it was not just about a few horses.

In the e-mail, Bolstad also stated:

“I am concerned about potential actions from the irrational and emotional publics that read Elyse Gardner’s blogs.  There have been no direct threats that we can take action against, but I’ve had calls from individuals who are clearly mentally unstable and others that express their outrage.”

Note that Bolstad stated “There have been NO DIRECT threats.”  BLM employees are Federal employees, and if they were threatened, the FBI would be called to investigate.  The FBI can track threatening phone calls that are made or e-mails that are sent to a government office or to a government employee.

I’ve read Elyse Gardner’s blog  ( and I don’t consider myself to be irrational and emotional.  You might have read her blog.  Do you consider yourself to be irrational and emotional?  Is Bolstad’s interpretation of “express outrage” a personal reaction to justified criticism of BLM policies and procedures?

I also received a copy of an Internal Working Document (ASLM Information Memorandum) dated 5/25/2010 from Dean Bolstad and John Neill which states:

“widely publicized extreme negative criticisms continue to erode BLM’s image.”

“The general public has had ample opportunities to view the Calico Complex wild horses, the Indian Lakes facility, and BLM’s operations.”

Usually, only about 10 members of the public were ALLOWED on the tour one day a week for a few hours, with one BLM employee leading the tour.  People had to call to make a reservation and give their name, phone number and city where they live.  If we’ve had “ample” opportunities to have access to our wild horses and the Indian Lakes facility, can we now remove our “ample” tax dollars that are paying for it?

“Due to outrage expressed by individuals that are often irrational and emotional, employees are becoming concerned for their personal safety, are experiencing high levels of stress and concerned that this negative publicity will motivate terrorism against our facilities similar to the Earth Liberation Front and Animal Liberation Front arson fires that occurred in the late 1990’s.”

This is like suggesting that the entire population of the U.S. be put into prison since there’s crime.  Many BLM facilities have many surveillance cameras and monitors in the office.  (Instead of pointing cameras on the horses, that need to be observed, the cameras are on you, THE PUBLIC.)

“Nevada BLM supports terminating the tours given Headquarters approval.  Extreme objection from Elyse Gardner and the Cloud Foundation will occur and they will organize a wave of emails and phone calls to BLM management officials and Congressmen.”

Why shouldn’t we write or call our Congressmen and BLM management officials?   American soldiers fought and died so that you would be free to do this.  BLM POLICIES are set at THE TOP by Congress, and by Secretary Ken Salazar of the Department of the Interior, and by Bob Abbey, Director of the Bureau of Land Management.  Call and write to them.

Issues regarding the Indian Lakes holding facility and documents available at the time are included in the First Amendment Rights lawsuit against the Bureau of Land Management filed by Laura Leigh in LEIGH v. SALAZAR.  To find out more about this lawsuit, go to

All documents mentioned in this article are available for viewing in the “Reading Room” at

To learn more about our wild horses and issues regarding the BLM: ,


BLM News Release, National Program Office, 5/28/2010

e-mail from FOIA request:  Dean Bolstad to Edwin Roberson, Bud Cribley, Don Glenn dated 5/25/2010

ASLM Information Memorandum, Internal Working Document, 5/25/2010, from Dean Bolstad and John Neill

Amendment of Solicitation/Modification of Contract (Modification No. 0002), Broken Arrow USA, dated 3/22/2010

Letter from Patricia L. Sanford, Chief, Division of IRM Governance, Department of the Interior, dated 10/6/2010

Pony Up, Cattlemen!

Investigative Report by Debbie Coffey from the PPJ Gazette

Live Link to the PPJ Gazette

When I first heard the term “grazing lease” I assumed the lease was for grazing.

After hearing that the Bureau of Land Management will be rounding up the wild horses in the Twin Peaks Herd Management Area (California and Nevada) because there’s not enough water for them, I looked at the BLM Eagle Lake (California) Field Office website and noticed the projects they had listed.

I was surprised to see grazing lease transfers. You can transfer (give) your grazing lease to somebody else, and then THEY can transfer (give) it to somebody else. However, the “somebodys” aren’t always people or ranches.

I saw a couple of ranches like 3-Dot Ranch and 5-Dot Land & Cattle, then (right when I thought I was seeing spots before my eyes) I happened to see Project number CA-350-2009-33 for the North Fort Sage Allotment and Winter Range, NV. This was a grazing lease transfer from V&B Liability to Vidler LLC to Jared Brackenbury (whose name was misspelled). I couldn’t find any information about V&B Liability, but it sounds like it might be an insurance company.

Why would an insurance company need a grazing permit? Anyhow, whoever they are, they transferred the grazing permit to Vidler LLC, which is Vidler Water Company.

George Knapp of wrote of Vidler Water Company “the huge operation they’ve put together in western states, including Nevada, has come to rival entire governments, both in expertise and resources.”

Vidler transferred the grazing permit to Jared Brackenbury.

Who is Jared Brackenbury? I expected him to be some big rancher. Jared Brackenbury seems to be in his mid- 20’s, has done some branding at the Fish Springs Ranch (owned by Vidler Water), and sold a cow, according to May 19, 2010 sales results listed by Nevada Livestock Marketing of Fallon, Nevada. He listed his address as Reno, Nevada.

Why would a big water company transfer a grazing lease to Jared Brackenbury?

Vidler purchased Fish Springs Ranch in 2000. In 2005, the Washoe County Commission voted to give Vidler a Special-Use Permit for a 28 mile pipeline to import 8,000 acre feet of water annually from the Honey Lake Basin to areas north of Reno.

In May, 2006, the BLM granted Fish Springs Ranch a right-of-way grant (N-76800) for the pipline on private and public land.

When the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe objected to the importation of water because it could actually be as much as 13,000 acre feet per year, Vidler cut a deal with the tribe and gave them $500,000 for signing an agreement and the deeds to 6,214 acres of Nevada real estate.

Vidler’s website states that Fish Springs Ranch “possesses significant, high-quality, sustainable groundwater resources” and that its goal is to “convert and deliver these agricultural water rights into municipal uses in the growing Truckee Meadows.” So, they’re “converting” (taking away) agricultural water rights. Are the “sustainable groundwater resources” they’re drilling into taking away any water from any aquifers?

Vidler explained its new public-private partnership: “In 2007, the $80 million infrastructure was dedicated by Vidler to Washoe County for it’s ownership, operation and maintenance. The water delivered through the pipeline is ‘banked’ by Washoe County Water Resources pending the eventual sale by Vidler to a third party.”

It seems generous to give away an $80 million infrastructure. But do you really think Vidler is going to just give away $80 million? They have to “recoup” their expenditures somehow, and my guess is that those costs will eventually be paid by the “third party.” That will be you. The County pays to run and maintain the “infrastructure” with taxpayer dollars, while Vidler makes money on all the water. Will Vidler sell the water they now “own” at a higher price? Will this be in perpetuity? FOREVER?

Vidler owns Carson City water rights and has a water deal with Carson City and Lyon County, Nevada. Vidler has a “water banking agreement” with Lyon County and a “wholesale water agreement” between the governments of both Carson City and Lyon County. Vidler describes this: “Carson City and Lyon County will get the project they desire at no cost to the taxpayer, the development and contruction industry has a water supply and infrastructure available while Vidler meets its business objectives.” (the business objective seems to be to sell water in perpetuity. FOREVER. At whatever price they want.)

In White Pine County, Nevada, Vidler paid $4.5 million for a ranch (and its water rights) in bankruptcy, then after “fixing fences and an irrigation system” sold it for $22 million to to the Southern Nevada Water Authority.

Most of Vidler’s water “projects” are in Nevada, but some are in California, Arizona, Colorado, Texas and Idaho. Vidler “intends to expand its operations in order to become a leading private water resource asset company in the western United States.”

Now, cattlemen, pay attention: On Vidler’s website, it states: “The primary strategy of the company is to locate, aggregate, develop and convert water rights from highly fragmented agricultural markets to emerging municipal and industrial uses.” Does this sound like they want to use the water for livestock? Vidler also boasts about its “political acumen” and “legal expertise” so, cattlemen, get ready to pony up to pay for your water.

Vidler Water is going to sell energy, too. They got a 62 page Special-Use Permit from Washoe County to build the Fish Springs PV Solar Project on 1,000 acres of their 2,670 acre Fish Springs Ranch. Their partners on this deal are Signet Solar Inc., Coast Range Investments LLC and Gold Solar Energy LLC.

Who owns Vidler Water? PICO Holdings.

PICO Holdings also owns Nevada Land & Resource Company, which is one of “the largest private landowners in Nevada.” It owns over 1 million acres of land, as well as 1 million acres of geothermal rights in northern Nevada. Nevada Land and Resource Company claims an “active mineral exploration and development program.” Things were so cozy between the BLM and the Nevada Land and Resource Co. in 2002 that Sen. Reid had to ask the BLM to remove Nevada Land and Resource employees who were working inside the Carson City BLM office processing land exchanges.

PICO Holdings subsidiaries are: Fish Springs Ranch, LLC, Nevada Land and Resource Company LLC, Nevada Land and Resource Holdings LLC, Physicians Insurance Company of Ohio, PICO Deferred Holdings LLC, Raven Investment Holdings Inc, UCP LLC, Vidler Water Company Inc., Global Equity Corporation (Canada), Global Equity AG (Switzerland), and a 37% interest in “an emerging technology management fund” called spigit (spigit’s founder, Paul Pluschkell, who’s also an officer of Raven Holdings, was President of Broadband at Global Crossing). PICO Holdings also has investment partnerships PICO Equity Investors, L.P. and PICO Equity Investors Management LLC.

We can see what PICO Holdings owns. Now the big question is, who owns PICO Holdings?

Until we can answer that, maybe we can ask the BLM to give our wild horses a Special-Use Permit, or a right-of-way, so the horses can get a drink of water on our publicly owned land.

For updates on upcoming wild horse gathers:


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