The ~Texas~ Mustang Project's Blog

Working for better management options and cohabitation through compromise and communication for the American Wild Mustang

Investigation Underway on Wild Horse Removal

Posted by Texas Mustang Project on July 2, 2010


By SCOTT SONNER
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

The FBI said Wednesday that it was reviewing a Las Vegas woman’s claim that U.S. land managers broke a federal law protecting wild horses when they removed nearly 2,000 wild horses from public rangeland in Nevada.

FBI Special Agent Joseph Dickey confirmed that his Las Vegas office received a formal request this week for an investigation from Cindy MacDonald, a horse protection advocate who has challenged roundups before.

MacDonald says the U.S. Bureau of Land Management gathered far more horses than allowed during a roundup six months ago in the Calico mountains about 200 miles north of Reno.

“I can confirm she did report that information,” Dickey said. “As with all complaints the FBI receives, we take them all seriously.”

He added: “We are evaluating her information and will make a decision in the coming days whether there is enough predication to open an investigation, whether we have jurisdiction, those kinds of questions.”

MacDonald wants the FBI to investigate and block the BLM from selling or transporting any of the horses from temporary holding pens in Nevada until BLM officials verify they left behind enough horses to sustain the wild herd.

She and other horse protection groups point to recent independent observations in the Calico mountains that suggest there remain nowhere near the 600 to 900 horses the BLM said it intended to leave there.

BLM officials say they are in compliance with the law. They teamed up with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service this week to conduct a weeklong aerial review of the area along with a new census on the ground to get an update on the size of the herd.

The census results are expected next week, although further analysis is planned by the U.S. Geological Survey, said Heather Emmons, a BLM spokeswoman in Reno.

BLM spokesman Tom Gorey in Washington has said agency officials would be happy to cooperate with any inquiry from the FBI about the roundups. The program is intended to reduce what they consider an overpopulation of wild horses that is harming not only the environmental health of the range and wildlife species, but the horses themselves, he said.

The BLM estimates there are 38,400 wild horses and burros in 10 Western states, about 12,000 more than the legally “appropriate management level,” Gorey said.

The BLM removed 1,922 horses from the range around the Calico mountains between December and February. Initially, all of them were transported to a temporary holding facility near Fallon, although about 100 died either as a result of the gather operation or after they arrived at the holding pens.

Emmons said about 150 horses have been transferred elsewhere, including 110 that were shipped to a larger BLM coral in Palomino Valley north of Reno in conjunction with the BLM’s plans to make the animals available for adoption via the Internet on July 14.

Eighteen horses have been sent to Carson City for use in a prison inmate training program, Emmons said. Twenty-five were shipped for adoption in Great Falls, Mont., and some of those that were not adopted have since been transferred to a facility in Salt Lake City for another attempt at adoption, she said.

The fate of the rest will be determined between July and November, with roughly half likely to be offered for adoption and half shipped to long-term corals and pastures, mostly in the Midwest.

MacDonald said the agency should not be allowed to transport any of the horses across state line until the FBI investigates.

“The public needs to be sure the BLM followed the law before those horses are shipped out,” she said.

Source: Las Vegas Review-Journal

Posted by Kaci Switzer

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6 Responses to “Investigation Underway on Wild Horse Removal”

  1. LOUIE COCROFT said

    FBI HAS JUSISDICTION ANYWHERE THEY WANT. THAT SHOULDN’T BE A PROBLEM. PERHAPS WE SHOULD HAVE THE IRS LOOK AT THE BOOKS.

    • This was my first question as well… From personal experience, I can say that if they want it, FBI can take any investigation from just about any agency. The only one I haven’t seen them try to tangle with is the Texas Rangers. Then again, no one wants to tangle with them.
      Point is, this seems like it should be even more of a cut-and-dry answer: it’s a violation of a FEDERAL law. FEDERAL Bureau of Investigation? I mean come on, this ain’t rocket science.
      Question here is whether or not they will do something about it. Recently, Sandra and I were on another investigation into an animal cruelty case online. We never did find anyone to take the case including the FBI. When I spoke with the cyber crimes division – as it was an online video – they explained that they did not have any experience dealing with such issues and furthermore could not tell me where to go with it. Sandra came up just as empty handed.
      So we came away with this wondering: Who truly handles crimes against animals on a federal basis? Yes, we know that the states have agencies that handle cases on a local, regional, and statewide basis. But if you have a situation that spans the entire country, who can you get to help you?
      How many times have we been told by local authorities that they don’t have jurisdiction over a crime because it crossed even just a county line, much less a state line? I’d be a millionaire if I had only a nickel for each one. Then once you reach the next county’s authorities, you have to start all over with the investigation because of different laws, ordinances, and of course – the people.
      I certainly do hope that the FBI takes this seriously. If they can finally hand some validity to these types of situations by actually performing an honest, thorough, and decent investigation to the one at hand, maybe they can finally see that there really is a need for an agency or even a division of the Bureau that strickly handles animal related crimes on a country-wide basis.
      T.

    • R. Thompson said

      Maybe the FBI can find out where the “missing” 19 Million management acres disappeared to and why?

      Maybe the FBI can figure out how of the remaining 32 Million acres, 26 Million are for “livestock”…e.g., husbandry of cattle, with a scant 6 Million apparently available for horses?

      Mixed use…yeah, I know. Who determines the mix and what is it?

      Maybe I’m just confused or math deprived. However, any time I see BLM senior executives joining hands with Fish & Wildlife senior types, I go looking for my apple rake & a towed spreader wagon to handle the output.

      Actually, all considered we might want to be grateful the wild horses are only herded with aircraft…some other species get executed (read gut shot more often than not) from aircraft with no never-mind from Dept of Interior or Fish & Wildlife.

      Yeah, I am in a bad mood lately.

  2. LOUIE COCROFT said

    THE IRS COULD FIND ANY MONEY THAT’S MISSING.

  3. LOUIE COCROFT said

    IT’S GOING TO TAKE SOMEONE WITH GOOD OLD FASHIONED G U T S. I SEE MORE OF THAT IN THE ADVOCATES THAN ANYWHERE.

  4. sandra longley said

    Problem with the BLM..no one has told them NO, and they don’t seem to think there is a higher authority..I keep hanging on to the fact that Western Watersheds has said “NO” and been backed up by the court system.

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