From: Elko Daily Free Press
By: Dylan Woolf Harris
ELKO — While Washington politicks over a government shutdown, wild horses on the range could be dying of thirst.
“Due to the government shutdown, these animals are in dire consequences of no water available,” she said. “… They are basically dependent on water being hauled to them.”
Wiscombe had watered an area 15 miles north of Currie and another in Ruby Valley about every five days. She was going to continue hauling water to the horses through the end of November, she said.
On Wednesday, she informed the county commission, saying horses could very well be dying.
Commissioners — who commended Wiscombe for bringing the issue to light — were worried about the horses and frustrated by the apparent lack of contingency planning by those in charge.
“What I’m concerned about is who’s responsible for these kind of management decisions?” Commissioner Demar Dahl said, “where you’d make the decision to start watering these horses, and then we say, ‘OK, now because we’re shut down, quit drinking.’”
Dahl wanted to know how many horses are left without water and dying.
“It doesn’t matter whether you love horses or hate horses,” he said. “It’s just egregious to think that you’re going to put them in a position where they depend on you and then walk away.”
Washed out roads complicated the problem, Wiscombe said. One spot hadn’t been watered for about a month because the road was impassable.
“We could go investigate and find out if they are dying. If they are, the county has a water truck, we can go haul water out there,” Dahl said. The county also has a bulldozer, he added, to level washed out roads.
However, a county water-hauling project would need to be approved as an agenda item, according to County Manager Rob Stokes. If residents decided to haul water with private equipment, though, it wouldn’t be a county issue.