UW, BLM to Begin Controversial and Inhumane Wild Horse Movement Study

Source: UWYO.edu

“From the destruction of wild horse’s genitals to the installation of dangerous collars the rogue federal agency, Bureau of Land Management (BLM), continues to enlist the aide of America’s institutions of higher learning to be partners in their crimes.” ~ R.T.

It works on cows

“It works on cows, duuuuuhhhh!”

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the University of Wyoming are beginning a study to learn more about wild horse seasonal use and movements in the Adobe Town herd management area (HMA).

The study will begin with a bait-trap gather and radio collaring of up to 30 wild mares during February. No wild horses will be removed during this nonhelicopter gather.

UW scientists Derek Scasta and Jeff Beck, both in the Department of Ecosystem Science and Management, are heading the research. Jake Hennig, a Ph.D. student in the department, also will participate. They will use the information gleaned from the radio collars to learn more about how wild horses interact with their environment. Specifically, the researchers will study migration patterns and herd movements in the HMA. The BLM says it will use the study results to ensure wild horse herds continue to thrive on healthy rangelands.

The Wyoming Department of Agriculture has provided $120,000 to start the research. The BLM also has contributed funding.

Bait-trapping involves setting up temporary corrals within the HMA to attract wild horses safely into the corral. When a certain number of horses has entered the pen, the gate to the corral is closed. Once the horses are gathered, trained personnel will load and transport selected mares to the Rock Springs Wild Horse Holding Facility. After the horses arrive at the facility, staff from the U.S. Geological Survey will place collars with GPS tracking devices on the horses. The horses will then be returned to the HMA.

The 20-30 mares that BLM will select to wear GPS collars will be 5 years old or older. All other wild horses gathered will be immediately released shortly after the selected mares are sorted and held for collaring. All mares will be released at or near the same location where they were gathered. The selected contractors are in the process of identifying trap site locations and will begin the bait-trapping process soon.

Corrals could be set up in stages over a period of days to allow the horses to grow accustomed to the enclosures. About three to five trap sites are required to distribute radio-collared mares throughout the entire HMA. Bait-trapping is an effective method for capturing small numbers of selected horses.

The number of people in the trap area will be limited to key personnel to ensure a successful and safe gather for the horses.

Public viewing opportunities will be limited. Public viewing is always allowed at the wild horse holding facility overlook in Rock Springs, where the mares will be taken to be collared. Public viewing also will be allowed at the release sites of the collared mares. The BLM will keep a list of people who would like to attend the releasing of the collared mares and notify them at least one day before the releases. Media and interested public can view and photograph the mares being released with the GPS collars. To add your name to the list for public viewing, contact BLM Public Affairs Officer Tony Brown at (307) 352-0215.

The BLM’s Rawlins Field Office released the decision record and finding of no significant impact for the Adobe Town HMA Wild Horse Movements and Habitat Selection Research Gather Environmental Assessment Nov. 9, 2016. The decision was to allow enough wild horses to be gathered by bait trapping, so up to 30 selected mares could be outfitted with GPS collars. The BLM will use two separate contractors to conduct the bait-trapping operations.

Click (HERE) to view BLM Press Release

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!

Wild Horses get Favorable Hearing in Battle with California Welfare Ranchers over Sanctuary

as published on The Sun Herald

“Judge Robert L. Wilkins called a government assertion “factually unsupported,””

photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

A top federal court on Wednesday appeared ready to force changes in a Forest Service plan that reduced wild horse protections in a remote Northern California county.

With tough questions and some pointed statements, three judges on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit revealed their apparent skepticism about management of the Devil’s Garden Plateau Wild Horse Territory in Modoc County. The Forest Service shrank the territory by about 25,000 acres in 2013.

“You’ve got a problem here,” Judge Patricia Millett told a Justice Department attorney.

At another point during the 30-minute oral argument, Judge Robert L. Wilkins called a government assertion “factually unsupported,” while Judge David Tatel offered that the wild horse advocates “still have a case” even if the government prevails on one issue.

The tenor and the content of the oral argument held before what is often called the nation’s second-highest court suggested eventual victory for the advocates who are challenging the Forest Service. Underscoring the stakes, an attorney for the California Cattlemen’s Association, the state’s farm bureau and other groups sat at the table alongside the federal government’s team…(CONTINUED)

http://www.sunherald.com/news/nation-world/national/article125890144.html

Snowfall Delays BLM Wild Horse Removal Operations in Northwest Colorado

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…

Feel Good Sunday: MustangMedia 101 – Whose Home on the Range?

By Terri Farley

Helping Wild Horses and Burros

terri-farley1. KNOW THE FACTS

You’ll feel comfortable telling people what’s happening to wild horses and burros if you know what you’re talking about.

Check out these websites for news, statistics and resources. If you are working on a wild horse or burro report, these are good sites to visit.

American Wild Horse Preservation
The Cloud Foundation
Chilly Pepper – Miracle Mustang, Equine & Neonatal Mustang Rescue
Hidden Valley Wild Horse Protection Fund
The Wild Horse Sanctuary
Wild Horse Freedom Federation
Wild Burro Protection League
Return to Freedom Wild Horse Conservation
Lifesavers Wild Horse Rescue
Montgomery Creek Ranch

2. WHAT’S HAPPENING RIGHT NOW?

Websites can’t cover every single news story about wild horses and burros, but you can create a Google alert for wild horses and burros. Here’s how.

Pay attention to these alerts to see where your voice is needed before the damage is done to your mustangs!

3. Forward this to those who care or need to be educated about wild horses:

Forward this to those who care or need to be educated about wild horses and burros:

ANNOUNCING MustangMedia 101 by Terri Farley: Whose Home on the Range?

Bookmark and Share

Wild horses and burros can’t speak their own stories. Once, that didn’t matter, but now wild horses and burros suffer and die at human hands. We take their food, water and homes. A few people want wild horses and burros taken off public lands so corporations can earn money from the land’s minerals, oil and grazing. But most people love wildlife and wild places. They’re learning to stand up for wildlife because the Western public lands belong to all Americans! Our hearts lift at their rough power and beauty.

Knowing mustangs inspires me to tell their stories as well as I can, before they’re extinct.

MustangMedia 101 by Terri Farley is my attempt to explain modern challenges facing wild horses and burros.

4. FOUR FILL-IN-THE-BLANK STEPS TO MAKE A LETTER-IN-WAITING

When you see an opportunity to comment about wild horses and burros online or in person, do it! For short Facebook or Twitter comments, use only Step One. For letters to editors, blogs, letters to government representatives, use all 4 steps.

STEP ONE: Make a statement and use BECAUSE to back it up.

EX:

“Wild horses and burros deserve freedom because laws have given them the right to roam public lands.”

or

“Wild horses and burros belong to all Americans and, because most American don’t believe in eating horsemeat, mustangs and burros shouldn’t go to slaughter.”

STEP TWO:

• Describe your personal connection to the issue in 2 – 3 sentences.

STEP THREE:

• Give 3 facts about the issue — 1 – 3 sentences

STEP FOUR:

• WHAT ACTION do you want people to take? – 1 sentence

That’s it! In 3 – 6 sentences, you will have explained why you want to live in a world with wild horses and burros.

You can keep that short document as a letter-in-waiting, but whatever you do — put your opinion out there!

You don’t have to be brave or brilliant; you just have to speak up for those who can’t speak for themselves.

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

Judges corral arguments over wild horse protections in remote California county

Story

“This is one of the most significant wild horse populations left in California,”

A dust-up in California’s remote Modoc County has lassoed the attention of one of the nation’s top courts, with wild horse protection and property rights both on the line.

Animal advocates want more land within the Modoc National Forest set aside for wild horses. Ranchers fear the loss of rangeland suitable for cattle grazing. Their legal fight might foreshadow plenty of other public-lands conflicts when the incoming Trump administration starts putting its brand on agencies like the Forest Service.

“This is one of the most significant wild horse populations left in California,” Suzanne Roy, executive director of the Davis, California-based American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign, said Thursday.

Located in California’s far northeast corner, Modoc County claims fewer than 10,000 residents. Roughly half the county’s land mass sits within the 1.3 million-acre national forest, enhancing the clout of federal officials and inciting the occasional conflict with residents. It’s a region in which political phrases like Sagebrush Rebellion take root.

This case, though, allies the ranchers with the Forest Service.

In an oral argument set for next Wednesday, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit will consider claims made by the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign and its allies. The court, in Washington, is sometimes called the nation’s second-highest because of its far-reaching authority over federal agencies, so its eventual decision could resonate well beyond Modoc County.

“This action has important implications for how the Forest Service manages the nearly 200 million acres of national forests,” attorneys for the wild horse advocates said in a legal brief.

The 30-minute oral argument is fallout from the Forest Service’s 2013 management plan for a portion of the Modoc National Forest called the Devil’s Garden Plateau Wild Horse Territory. The territory consisted of two parcels totaling 236,000 acres when it was established in 1975.

The Devil’s Garden site is one of 37 federal wild horse or burro territories nationwide.

The Forest Service adjusted the Devil’s Garden borders in the 1980s to create a larger, unified territory, some of it including private land previously used for grazing. The agency further recognized these new borders in a 1991 forest plan. The new management plan in 2013, though, shrunk the territory back to the original 1975 layout.

The change in 2013 cut the expanded wild horse territory by 25,000 acres as it reverted to its original size, and it set a maximum wild horse population of 402.

“We’re trying to prevent the Forest Service from reducing the size of their habitat,” Roy said, adding that “it’s all being driven by the (ranching) interests in the area.”

The California Cattlemen’s Association, state farm bureau and others favoring the smaller territory noted in a legal brief their concerns about the “unprecedented wild horse population explosions that have spilled over onto adjacent private lands and into government-funded offsite holding facilities.”

“Over the past decade, the Devil’s Garden Wild Horse Territory population has exploded to reach 1,124 horses,” the farm groups wrote, adding that “wild horses have even been observed on private property far from the wild horse territory.”

In a 2015 ruling, U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson upheld the Forest Service’s action as administratively justifiable.

“At the time the Devil’s Garden (territory) was established, the Forest Service concluded that the disputed territory did not qualify as the territorial habitat of wild free-roaming horses,” Jackson said in her 50-page opinion.

The challengers appealing Jackson’s decision counter in legal filings that the disputed territory “is, and always has been, prime wild horse habitat.”

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

BLM to Begin Utah Frisco Wild Horse Removal and Sordid Research Project

Unedited article from KCSG.com by BLM’s Lisa Reid

“Dangerous Tracking Collars to be Installed on Wild Horses”

Wild Horse CollarCEDAR 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/CongerFriscoGather

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.