Debate over wild horses in the Damonte Ranch area heats up

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Updated: 12/05/2012 6:14 pm

RENO, Nev. (Mynews4.com & KRNV)- A trap full of wild horses set up on private property in the Damonte Ranch area caused quite the commotion today. Protesters rushed to the scene in hopes of stopping the round up.

The Nevada Department of Agriculture has been rounding up wild horses in the area for months.  Developer Perry Di Loreto requested the trap, stating the horses are nuisance and a safety concern. 

State workers tried for hours to load the horses on to a trailer.  At one point some of the horses escaped.  Advocates shouted in hopes of being able to come up with an alternative solution.  "Let us take them if you can't!"  Advocates believe the horses will be sold to slaughterhouses.

Reno Police Commander Mac Venzon says coming up with a solution that will please all parties involved will be a challenge. "What I'd like to do is sit down at the table and figure out what we need to accomplish," said Venzon.

Di Loreto said he would be willing to sit down and discuss the issues as long as a mediator was present. 

Advocates say they have made attempts to talk to officials with the Department of Agriculture as well as the Governor himself, but so far they have been ignored.

News 4 contacted the Department of Agriculture but no one was available for comment. 

State workers were unable to remove any horses today.  Another attempt will be made in the morning and security officials will remain on scene overnight to prevent tampering with the trap.

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Tami111 - 12/8/2012 10:17 PM
0 Votes
I live in Illinois and we are LOUSY with white tail deer. There is not a day that goes by that someone I know hits one! Especially during hunting season when they are being stalked! (they aren't stupid) But we don't abuse them and hunt them all down and kill them! We watch out for them!!! Nevada is a fence out state!! If you don't like the horses then fence in your property!!! Why do you people in Nevada want to kill all of the horses! You people are so cruel and your governor is a coward!!!

Ihearthorses - 12/6/2012 11:42 PM
0 Votes
The land that the horses were on yesterday was always fenced and locked. Yesterday the owner opened the gate and the horses went in to eat the hay. The guy that owns the property never leaves the gate open because he sometimes lets his cows eat the hay. I knew something was up because he left the gate open. It was lure the horses in to catch them. Those horses were beautiful and walked around the neighborhood. They were gentle and would lay on the grass or just walk around. I have not seen them for weeks, so they don't come around everyday. There are signs to look out for the horses. I wish they would just relocate them and not kill them. I aways took photos of them. They even let you stand by them and take pictures. I put a lot of pictures of them up on my blog. Run Reno wild horses if you want to see great pictures of them. DiLoreto unlocked the gate again today, probably wants to lure more horses on his property to haul them away too. If you don't want horses in your yard, just put up a fence so they will not walk on your yard. But no, people just want to compain about the horses in their yard. I love seeing the horses, you can't see them anywhere else. They are special.

suejoe - 12/6/2012 4:10 PM
0 Votes
Yes Lorie, The mare and foal are fine. I have not seen other pictures other than what was on the news. I too can only hope that people will try and work together.

lorie - 12/6/2012 3:09 PM
0 Votes
RE - SUEJOE I hope that you are correct regarding the mare and foal - I did see a picture from yesterday and that man was totally draging that 3 week old by the neck! I'm sorry but this is just a sad situation and I for one hope for more cooperation between the AG Dep and the horse advocates. By the way I too have had horses.

suejoe - 12/6/2012 12:17 PM
0 Votes
Re-Lorie you are right on working together. So you all know the mare and foal were separated from the others, the two were hauled as a pair safely.

suejoe - 12/6/2012 12:08 PM
0 Votes
I am a horse owner and lover. I truly enjoy seeing all the horses along the hills in their natural ways. I do however find it concerning when these horses are running through neighborhoods and causing damage to property and risking lives of our loved ones on the road. It is un-natural for horses to live in city streets grazing through yards that are not zoned to have horses. A land owner has rights to not have stays etc on his or her property, and I'm pretty sure these neighborhoods in which these horse are moving into also have laws of how many dogs one could have in a house hold and not zoned for horses for many reasons. A catch an release program would be great; however what people do not know is the there are two programs here- BLM and DOA these may be the two that need to come together to make everyone happy mostly the horses that have come down into yards, streets, hwys etc. Help has started for the safety in some areas, 95 and now some on hwy 50 has fencing to keep these horses from the roads. I have recently seen first hand horses loaded by DOA out of a yard in a neighborhood; it was calm and easy on the handler and the horses involved. The horses were taken to the holding pens in Carson which I also found as a horse owner to be incredibly safe. The horses have plenty of feed and water free choice. They go through a process and then can go to auction to be adopted out to the buyer. A buyer we all hope to be good people and never for slaughter. DOA has no reason to be at blame or treated hostile for doing their job. To protect us and our safety as well as the horses. Blow horns and cheers to spook these horses, REALLY.....Clearly they did not care for the horses safety or understand how livestock is handled. I saw nothing unsafe on how they had set up for the removal of the horses. As I am sure by what I have read there are some that love the horses in their yard; I also believe their are plenty that are not. WORK TOGETHER

lorie - 12/6/2012 12:03 PM
1 Vote
I have lived in the Virginia Foothills and now Curti Ranch for over 23 years. Horses have been in this area for that entire time; long before Curti, KB, DiLoretto, Hidden Valley and any of the other developments. Over the last few months we have had more horses in our neighborhoods due to a lack of food and water in the surrounding hills. Yes I think that the horses need to be managed better just as a matter of safety for THEM and the folks that live in these areas. My request is that the Dept of Agriculture begin once again to work with the horse advocates that CARE about our wild horses. There is a lot of misinformation out there on what happens when these horses are captured and no they dont get trained for border patrol!! When the AG Dept baits and traps these horses they are taken to the Prison in Carson City where they are branded, castrated and then taken to the Fallon Auction. Some of these horses are purchased and went to good homes others not so lucky have been purchased by "kill buyers" and then they go to slaughter. So Paladin yes the horse advocates do see the safety issues and want to see the horses relocated in a HUMANE manner. Take a look at the photos of that 3 week old foal from yesterday and tell my these Ag people are compassionate!! The bottom line is we need to work together for a solution not just trap them to be killed!!

Paladin - 12/6/2012 10:03 AM
0 Votes
WOW. We now have documentation that ONE person, Les Stedronsky, travels to the area to see the horses on the mountains. That does not make the horses a tourist attraction as Katcandu alleges. The horses DO NOT bring tourist $$$ to this area, that is a joke. I don't want to see the horses slaughtered for dog food, but they need to be managed and relocated to rural areas where they don't pose a safety threat. Hitting a horse with your car at 30 to 40 mph isn't like hitting a rabbit. I don't think the horse advocates see the safety issues at all. The suburban development is here and not going away so we need to concentrate on the safe and humane relocation or adoption of the horses. The advocates I have talked to are always so extreme in their positions they are literally foaming at the mouth. I don't think they can sit at the table and be realistic.

rshirley - 12/6/2012 9:56 AM
1 Vote
I also live in Damonte and drove by the trap, saw the signs and found this article that helped to explain the situation. We moved here from SoCal less than 3 years ago and LOVE having the wild horses around. They are not a nuissance to those of us that live here. Di Loreto must be concerned with profits, but should realize that the horses are actually what will draw many to live in this area. We chose to stay in Damonte because of them. And, the thought of these beautiful horses being sold to a slaughter house is horrible.

LLBentley - 12/6/2012 7:35 AM
2 Votes
Thank you for following this story. I live in Damonte Ranch, and yes, the horses are on my lawn every day. I consider it a privilege, part of why I love Nevada so much, and my lawn is not that bad. Easy to fix -- hardly the end of the world. All my neighbors watch out for them, and will escort them to a safe area if they are in a bad place on the street. Many have built temporary fences if they don't want the horses on their lawns. It's not difficult. We need assurances that the horses we've been enjoying all year won't be sold to a slaughter house. The State/Governor need to respond and address these concerns.
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