Wild horse advocate’s lawsuit seeks to halt auction after roundup


LA Times, John M. Glionna, August 15, 2013

Animal advocates fear wild mustangs like these were part of a roundup on tribal lands in northern Nevada. (Laura Leigh / Wild Horse Education / February 27, 2013)

Animal advocates fear wild mustangs like these were part of a roundup on tribal lands in northern Nevada. (Laura Leigh / Wild Horse Education / February 27, 2013)

LAS VEGAS — Another showdown is looming between the federal government and animal advocates over the wild horses that wander the American West.

Last week, 486 horses were gathered from the Fort McDermitt Paiute-Shoshone reservation in northern Nevada during a three-day roundup.

Tribal officials say the animals were traditional pests that cost them money to maintain. But wild horse advocates claim that many of the animals were wild mustangs that should have been protected by the federal Bureau of Land Management under the 1973 Wild Horse and Burro Act.

Laura Leigh, founder of Wild Horse Education, filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Nevada, claiming that the BLM participated in the  roundup instead of protecting the horses as the law requires.

The suit demands that the agency halt an auction scheduled for Sunday in Fallon, Nev., until it can determine which horses are unbranded and wild.

It also alleges that wild horses were removed through an agreement with tribal authorities, the U.S. Forest Service and the BLM. Many unbranded wild horses were removed, including those residing in an area of BLM-managed public land, it says.

Leigh told the Los Angeles Times that many of the horses collected may have been from BLM-managed land traveling the area in their normal seasonal migratory patterns.

She said the horses to be auctioned Sunday would probably be purchased by so-called kill buyers, who would ship them to slaughterhouses in Mexico. Such slaughterhouses in the U.S. were closed in 2007, but there have been recent court battles over whether to allow such slaughter to resume in the U.S.

“The reservation land can only support about 100 horses,” Leigh said. “We believe that the other horses headed for auction and probably death are mustangs that the BLM should have protected.”

In a post on her website, Leigh said: “I am literally ill that the horses that we have fought so long and hard to protect may now face certain death. I pray that the courts can suspend this sale and help sort this out before it is too late.”

The BLM has denied that any wild horses were taken off the range.

JoLynn Whorley, a spokeswoman for the agency’s Nevada office, acknowledged that the tribe collected horses last week, but said the BLM was not part of the effort.

“We weren’t involved in it,” she told The Times. “If these were our horses, we would step up and take responsibility for them. We’ve always done that. Our position is that these animals aren’t horses managed by the BLM and are not protected by law. They are animals that have been on tribal land for decades.”

Maxine Sart, tribal chairwoman for the Fort McDermitt Paiute-Shoshone reservation, acknowledged that several hundred horses were rounded up from tribal territory.

She told The Times that a BLM observer was on hand during the process.

“There was a BLM obsserver,” she said. “She was one of their wild horse and burro specialists.” CONTINUED… Read the rest of the article in the LA Times


AUTHOR: Jerry Finch

    This is a case of horse laundering, rather than money laundering… but just as illegal, and with the blessings of the BLM and FOREST SERVICE, two rogue agencies that pay no attention to the FEDERAL LAWS that govern them. I TOO PRAY THAT THE FEDERAL JUDGE WILL SEE THIS AND UNDERSTAND. And I have a bit of hate in my heart for the glorified INDIANS who love nature and animals..supposedly, also.

    August 15, 2013
    • I hear what your saying….I totally agree….the Glorified Indians…and the BLM what a crock of BS….they don’t help the horses..they help the cattlemen….they make their own laws…

      August 16, 2013
  • Debbie Tracy

    I made some calls today a lot of good that will do but had to try and do something…. Even called the Justice Dept. to investigate BLM, what are the chances of that??

    I wish that WE THE PEOPLE had control over the Wild Ones you know States get involved have the Advocates involved and we ALL would take care of them, get them out of the reach of BLM.. I am drying up with words cause it is the same SH-T over and over with the BLM & FOREST SERVICE…. GRRRRRRRRRR

    August 15, 2013
    • Sharon Jacobs-Salinas

      Debbie, I totally agree. I’ve run out of words, too! Besides that, our ‘words’ fall on deaf ears when it comes to the DOI/BLM and Forest Service. It’s business as usual for these corrupt, out-of-control agencies! I’d love to get through to them, but that just doesn’t happen no matter what we do!

      August 19, 2013
  • Arlene

    All I can feel is contempt for the BLM they have continuously lied and payed not one bit of mind to scientific evidence to what they are doing to our Mustangs is not only morally so wrong but also illegal………… We have all did everything to stop them to no avail, and Paula is right its now come down to Horse Laundering …….Is there just not any Justice left , is it too much to ask for?????/ It is awful our Horses cannot even speak for themselves, they have to endure this horror …….

    August 15, 2013
  • Jacob

    I don’t care if they’re branded or not; living creatures shouldn’t be auctioned off like merchandise and wild horses need to be kept in the wild!!! There’s no rime or reason to ANY of this and it makes me VERY ANGRY!!!

    August 15, 2013
  • Nancy Albin

    Here I come Obama, Reid & Heller & mayor I won’t leave anyone out i promise!! well had to go down to Reno tomorrow anyway get ready I will be short, NOT so sweet & angry!!

    August 15, 2013
  • BlessUsAll

    If I were a Native American, I would be careful about using the word “pests” to describe any living being made by the Holy Spirit. Perhaps these pretenders are confusing “pests” with “profits” and “power”?

    August 15, 2013
  • Terra Pennington

    BULL AND DOUBLE BULL… The BLM needs to have a house cleaning and put people that want to protect, control, and care for the wild Mustangs not send them to a inhumane death to make a buck… Follow the money and greed and you will find out why there is such a big push for horse slaughter.

    August 15, 2013
  • JanSchultz

    Send your outrate to the Hearings and Appeals Board for the Dept of Interior who investigate decisions and actions of their agencies.

    I just went to get the link and for some strange reason it is down. Keep trying.

    August 16, 2013