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All the Missing Horses 

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What Happened to the Wild Horses Tom Davis Bought From the Gov’t?

 

A lone mustang who escaped the helicopters watches a Bureau of Land Management roundup in the Stone Cabin Valley in Nevada during the winter of 2012. (Dave Philipps)

by Dave Philipps, Special to ProPublica Sept. 28, 2012, 5:13 p.m.

The Bureau of Land Management faced a crisis this spring.

The agency protects and manages herds of wild horses that still roam the American West, rounding up thousands of them each year to keep populations stable.

But by March, government pens and pastures were nearly full. Efforts to find new storage space had fallen flat. So had most attempts to persuade members of the public to adopt horses. Without a way to relieve the pressure, the agency faced a gridlock that would invite lawsuits and potentially cause long-term damage to the range.

So the BLM did something it has done increasingly over the last few years. It turned to a little-known Colorado livestock hauler named Tom Davis who was willing to buy hundreds of horses at a time, sight unseen, for $10 a head.

The BLM has sold Davis at least 1,700 wild horses and burros since 2009,


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