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Humane Society national office urges BLM to return Carson City wild horses back to public land 

CarsonCityNow.org / Jeff Munson on Tue, 03/05/2013

Photo by Annie Jantzen

Photo by Annie Jantzen

The Humane Society of the United States is the latest animal rights organization to denounce the Bureau of Land Management’s decision to remove a small band of wild horses located east of Carson City, Nev., in the Pine Nut Herd Management Area.

The group of 11 horses, removed by the BLM last week, had been a cherished attraction to the community for more than 40 years and have been included on visitors fliers and brochures distributed nationally. The BLM cited previously resolved complaints regarding public safety risks as the reason for the removal, the Humane Society says. The horses were transported to the Northern Nevada Correctional Center in Carson City, where they will be prepared for an adoption event on Saturday, March 23, at Silver Saddle Ranch in southeast Carson City.

The horses, the BLM contends, routinely crossed the Carson River into River View City Park, where the BLM has received several complaints. The move was done, the BLM said, for the protection and safety of the public and of the horses.

The Humane Society of the United States joins the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign, also a national organization, in its opposition to the BLM decision.

“The removal of these horses from their home without notifying interested stakeholders contradicts BLM’s recent announcement that it would increase agency transparency. Working with the local community to manage this herd would have been the right choice, but instead the BLM has added these horses to its inventory of nearly 50,000 wild horses now kept in holding facilities, which are already costing taxpayers $43 million a year,” said Holly Hazard, senior vice president of programs and innovations for The Humane Society of the United States.

The animal rights group, in a news release issued Tuesday, calls on the BLM to reverse its decision to remove these horses from the range and return them to their rightful home. Once the horses are returned to the wild, the BLM should work with the local community groups that have offered assistance in the management of this well-known group.

The BLM hosted a meeting just weeks before the removal, asking for public input and possible solutions. Several groups submitted detailed proposals that included monetary resources to purchase and build fences and water troughs, as well as the application of fertility control vaccines that would help control the population over time. The BLM declined the assistance and removed the horses from the wild without notifying local advocates, according to the news release. Residents immediately noticed the missing horses and had to call the BLM to learn of their removal.

“We are calling on the Carson City BLM to do what’s right and release our 11 horses and work with the community. This is their job,” said Carson City wild horse advocate Annie Jantzen. “Rarely are there so many positive solutions and such a galvanized effort in the community. The BLM has shamed itself by refusing to work with local citizens and follow it through.”

Horse rights advocate Margie Quirk addressed the Carson City Board of Supervisors on Thursday asking leaders for support in creating a sanctuary for the band of horses.

Here is the news release issued last week by the BLM regarding the roundup.

The Bureau of Land Management Carson City District Office has concluded bait trapping 11 problem wild horses on the outskirts of Carson City, Nevada. The horses were transported to the Northern Nevada Correctional Center in Carson City, where they will be prepared for an adoption event on Saturday, March 23, at Silver Saddle Ranch in southeast Carson City.

The horses are a part of the Pine Nut Mountains herd management area (HMA) that is adjacent to Deer Run Road in Carson City. These horses routinely cross the Carson River into River View City Park, where the BLM has received several complaints of people feeling threatened by the wild horses. The horses are outside of HMA boundaries the majority of the time and residents, especially horse owners, can quickly find themselves in potentially dangerous situations as domestic wild horse encounters can be very unpredictable and uncontrollable.

“We have successfully gathered the horses, and hope the community will feel safe knowing there’s not a potential of hitting them on the road, or confronting them in public areas,” said Leon Thomas, Sierra Front Field Manager. “We know the community loves and appreciates these horses, so we hope some of the residents will be able to give them a home in the area they’re accustomed to.”

The BLM recognizes that these horses have been part of the community for many years; however, it is responsible for keeping wild horses from creating a safety hazard or threatening the well-being of the community and its animals. In the past two years, four horses have been struck and killed by vehicles, and community complaints submitted to the BLM have ranged from concern for the safety of residents’ children, to stallions fighting with domestic horses through fences. In all complaints, there were safety concerns and property damage.

The BLM follows the Code of Federal Regulations 4720.2-1, which mandates the removal of strayed animals from private lands based on written request from landowners. The bait trapping is in response to several complaint letters the BLM has received in past months from private landowners.

The appropriate management level for the Pine Nut Mountains HMA is 119 to 179 with a current population of 293.

More information regarding the upcoming adoption will be forthcoming, and will be made available at: www.blm.gov

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