Federal agency given deadline to explain why deadly Nevada wild horse roundup should continue

Aug 5, 2023, 11:56 AM | Updated: 12:32 pm

RENO, Nev. (AP) — A judge has asked federal land managers to explain why they should be allowed to continue capturing more than 2,500 wild horses in northeastern Nevada — a roundup opponents say is illegal and has left 31 mustangs dead in 26 days.

Wild Horse Education, a nonprofit seeking to protect the horses, has sued the Bureau of Land Management and is seeking a court order to temporarily halt the roundup halfway between Reno and Salt Lake City.

Among other things, it says the agency is violating its own safety standards that prohibit roundups in extreme heat and the use of helicopters to assist in the capture of the animals when foals are present.

More than 260 foals are among the 2,643 animals that have been rounded up for transport to government holding pens since July 9, the agency said on its website Saturday. Several-hundred more are expected to be gathered before the roundup ends Aug. 22.

Democratic U.S. Rep. Dina Titus, of Nevada, has introduced a bill that would outlaw the use of helicopters under any circumstances to assist wranglers on horseback chasing the mustangs into traps — makeshift corals on the high-desert range.

She urged the chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee this week to expedite a hearing on her proposal due to the horse deaths, including one with a broken leg that was chased for 35 minutes before it was euthanized.

“Despite BLM’s directive to `humanely capture’ wild free-roaming horses and burros … the use of helicopters routinely creates frightening and deadly situations for horses as demonstrated in recent weeks,” Titus said.

“These horses have suffered through a host of tragic injuries, ranging from broken necks, broken legs and even dehydration due to the oppressive triple digit heat,” she wrote in a letter to the committee chairman, Republican U.S. Rep. Bruce Westerman, of Arkansas, and ranking U.S. Rep. Raul Grijalva, D-Ariz.

“Without meaningful reforms, BLM’s operations will continue to kill off these icons of the West in completely avoidable circumstances,” she wrote.

So far, U.S. District Judge Larry Hicks in Reno has declined to grant the Aug. 1 request for a temporary restraining order to halt the Nevada roundup. But on Friday, he put the agency on notice it has until 4 p.m. Monday to formally respond to the allegations of illegal mistreatment of the animals.

He set a hearing for Wednesday to hear more detailed arguments if necessary from lawyers on both sides.

Nevada is home to nearly two-thirds of the 68,928 wild horses the bureau estimated on March 1 were roaming federal lands in 10 Western states stretching from California to Montana.

The bureau said in a court filing Wednesday that its latest roundup, which began July 9 between Elko and Ely near the Utah border, is a “crucial gather” because overpopulated herds are seriously damaging the range.

It said the estimated 6,852 horses there is nearly 14 times what the land can ecologically sustain. It says roundups typically have a mortality rate of less than 1%.

Critics say the real purpose of the removals is to appease ranchers who don’t want horses competing with their livestock for precious forage in the high desert, where annual precipitation averages less than 10 inches (25 centimeters).

Wild Horse Education’s motion for a temporary restraining order says there’s no legitimate reason to conduct the current roundup in extreme heat with helicopters when foals are present, “especially when the BLM has plenty of time to conduct this gather in a humane manner as the law requires.”

“Without injunctive relief, plaintiffs will continue to be permanently and irrevocably harmed in witnessing the atrocious and horrific sights of wild horses and burros dying due to the inhumane handling, extreme heat and use of helicopters during foaling season.”

National News

Run by a private firm hired by the city, migrants stay in a makeshift shelter at O'Hare Internation...

Associated Press

Chicago is keeping hundreds of migrants at airports while waiting on shelters and tents

CHICAGO (AP) — Hidden behind a heavy black curtain in one of the nation’s busiest airports is Chicago’s unsettling response to a growing population of asylum-seekers arriving by plane. Hundreds of migrants, from babies to the elderly, live inside a shuttle bus center at O’Hare International Airport’s Terminal 1. They sleep on cardboard pads on […]

56 minutes ago

The ruins of a home destroyed by a deadly August wildfire lay outside the boundary of a Hawaiian ho...

Associated Press

Native Hawaiian neighborhood survived Maui fire. Lahaina locals praise its cultural significance

LAHAINA, Hawaii (AP) — Shaun “Buge” Saribay felt like giving up. Hours of makeshift firefighting with garden hoses and buckets of water across Lahaina didn’t stop flames from consuming his house, his rental properties and thousands of other structures in his beloved hometown. Drained, dirty and delirious, he continued anyway, pedaling a bicycle he found […]

2 hours ago

A family spends time on the beach as scuba divers, Tanasia Swift, second right, and Sarah Sears fir...

Associated Press

In New York City, scuba divers’ passion for the sport becomes a mission to collect undersea litter

NEW YORK (AP) — On a recent Sunday afternoon, the divers arrived on a thin strip of sand at the furthest, watery edge of New York City. Oxygen tanks strapped to their backs, they waded into the sea and descended into an environment far different from their usual terrestrial surroundings of concrete, traffic and trash-strewn […]

2 hours ago

Judge Arthur Engoron poses for a picture in his courtroom in New York, Thursday, Sept. 28, 2023. St...

Associated Press

Who is Arthur Engoron? Judge weighing future of Donald Trump empire is Ivy League-educated ex-cabbie

NEW YORK (AP) — He’s driven a taxi cab, played in a band and protested the Vietnam War. As a New York City judge, Arthur Engoron has resolved hundreds of disputes, deciding everything from zoning and free speech issues to a custody fight over a dog named “Stevie.” Now, in the twilight of a distinguished […]

2 hours ago

Associated Press

Powerball jackpot rises to $1.04 billion after another drawing without a big winner

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The Powerball jackpot climbed to an estimated $1.04 billion after no players hit it big Saturday night, continuing a stretch of lottery futility lasting for more than two months. The numbers drawn were: 19, 30, 37, 44, 46 and red Powerball 22. The jackpot for the next drawing Monday night […]

3 hours ago

Associated Press

California governor signs law to bolster eviction protections for renters

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California’s Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a law Saturday to bolster eviction protections for renters and close a loophole in an existing law that has allowed landlords to circumvent the state’s rent cap. The move updates a 2019 landmark law that created rules around evictions and establishing a rent cap at […]

4 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Swedish Cyberknife...

September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

September is a busy month on the sports calendar and also holds a very special designation: Prostate Cancer Awareness Month.

Ziply Fiber...

Dan Miller

The truth about Gigs, Gs and other internet marketing jargon

If you’re confused by internet technologies and marketing jargon, you’re not alone. Here's how you can make an informed decision.

Education families...

Education that meets the needs of students, families

Washington Virtual Academies (WAVA) is a program of Omak School District that is a full-time online public school for students in grades K-12.

Emergency preparedness...

Emergency planning for the worst-case scenario

What would you do if you woke up in the middle of the night and heard an intruder in your kitchen? West Coast Armory North can help.

Innovative Education...

The Power of an Innovative Education

Parents and students in Washington state have the power to reimagine the K-12 educational experience through Insight School of Washington.

Medicare fraud...

If you’re on Medicare, you can help stop fraud!

Fraud costs Medicare an estimated $60 billion each year and ultimately raises the cost of health care for everyone.

Federal agency given deadline to explain why deadly Nevada wild horse roundup should continue