Wild horse advocates ask for cooperation

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Updated: 12/12/2012 5:54 pm
RENO, Nev. (Mynews4.com & KRNV) - "I'd like to see much more cooperation," said a wild horse advocate during public comment at the Nevada Department of Agriculture's quarterly board meeting. It was a packed house with more than 50 signed up to speak.

Wild horse management was not on the agenda but dozens spoke out against current practices by the Department. Recently traps have been set on private land in the Damonte Ranch area at the request of land owners. Those traps have led to emotionally charged protests and forced law enforcement officials to be on hand to keep the peace as well as prevent tampering of the traps. 

“Every time we go out in the field these days it's based on public safety," said Ed Foster, Department Spokesperson. Foster says the traps are set up based on citizen complaints and if complaints continue, they will continue to set traps.

"We just want to help," said Bonnie Matton President of the Wild Horse Preservation League.  Matton, like other advocates believes the Department should bring back cooperative agreement that allows advocacy groups to help. "We want to help and we know what we're doing.  It would cost nothing to the taxpayer. It would cost nothing to the Department of Agriculture," said Matton.

Foster says the cooperative agreement was abolished after wild horses that had been purchased by advocacy groups were found back on the range.  Current Director Jim Barbee has decided not to re-negotiate the agreement.

No action was taken at this meeting. Advocates say they are pleased with the turnout and hope their voices were heard.

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michelleb - 7/25/2013 11:05 AM
0 Votes
If residents are complaining about the wild horses then they need to freakin move! How dare they move then think that horses, that once lived on that land, will all of a sudden disappear. They are heartless. These beautiful creatures are being abused by the BLM and the BLM seems to get away with it because they are govt. I agree..axe them all!

HBonnie - 12/13/2012 11:48 PM
0 Votes
One of the biggest concerns we have with the Nevada Department of Agriculture (NDA) is they are not abiding by many of Nevada Statutes regarding wild horses. A perfect example is in regards to previous cooperative agreements between the NDA and hands-on wild horse advocacy groups. NDA said all cooperative agreements had been stopped. But, the Nevada Statute NRS569.031 is still on the books. NDA never even bothered to legitimately cancel these agreements. It just goes to show the left hand doesn't know or care what the right hand is doing. This statute is still in effect and will work just as well now as it did then - there's simply no reason to re-invent the wheel and there is no cost to Nevada taxpayers. NDA reps continue to say they don't have the money to run cooperative agreements. But, that too, is a fallacy. The only thing needed to be done each year by them is to approve the agreements between the agency and wild horse organizations. There is no cost to the Nevada Department of Agriculture. When a reporter recently asked one of NDA's representatives regarding NRS569.031, he said, "Nevada statutes can be interpreted in many ways." In other words, NDA is doing what they want to do, not what they have to do by law. It is a governmental agency and should be held responsible to all Nevada's citizens. If any of us 'ordinary citizens' broke the law, we certainly would be held responsible, that's for sure! H. Bonnie Matton, President Wild Horse Preservation League Dayton 775-220-6806

dancin4delight - 12/13/2012 12:04 PM
0 Votes
It was nice to see that even after the majority of the Public Comment speakers left, many members on the Board agreed with their points. Despite the fact that the Director blamed the advocacy groups for causing the accident in Pleasant Valley. Board members reiterated the points made about fence-out laws. The NV DOT's role in not providing fences around highways, and the willingness of the advocates to volunteer their services to help in this situation to educate the community and provide less costly alternatives to the current Director's management. They mend fences voluntarily, regardless of who is creating the breaches. At the advise of one board member having discussion in possible ethics violation, they delayed the discussion until the next meeting where the statutory limitations of the cooperative agreements would be addressed. It is interesting to note that a cattleman that I spoke to informed me that the Virginia Range Estray Horse Management is paid for by the Usage Fees assessed to the cattlemen who use that land for grazing. He said if the Dept. of AG doesn't remove these horses that he claims are destroying "his range", he'll go out there and round them up to sell himself. That he doesn't care where they go, as long as their gone and that he is planning on getting his lawyer involved. The true motivation behind the sudden increase in round-ups may be lack of funding from the general fund (which apparently only pays administrative salaries in regard to the management) not for the enforcement of the statutes put in place to prevent public safety issues.

Paladin - 12/13/2012 11:27 AM
0 Votes
NO meaningful tourism dollars have ever been raised by tourists flocking the hillsides of south Reno looking for mangey vagabond horses. For Equine advocates in the group, that is by far your weakest and most obviously BS arguement. We don't have tour buses coming over the hill from the bay area, filled with gawking strangers looking for a brief glimpse of the rare mangy vagabond horse. The horses are no different than the bears, coyotes, racoons etc that work their way into populated areas. If they become a safety issue, then the government as a right and an obligation to step in. I am all for humane horse relocation to more rural, isolated areas, where they are not a danger or nuisance to homeowners and neighborhoods. If you want to admire them and you live in this populated basin called Reno, then buy and acreage, build a good fence, go adopt one and keep it in YOUR backyard to enjoy. Don't let it wander around neighborhoods looking to get hit by a car. Sooner or late someone is going to hit a horse and people will be injured or killed. With all these horses running around its just a matter or time. Will the horsey zealots recognize the danger and need for control then? not likely.

foximer - 12/13/2012 11:26 AM
0 Votes
A big thank you to the Board of Agriculture for listening to the many grievances presented. The Department of Agriculture doesn't respond and the Governor's office doesn't even respond to the media much less to public. Past Director, Tony Lesperance, made the decision to stop managing the Virginia Range horses and current Director, Jim Barbee, apparently made the same decision before he was even confirmed. Blame for the issues we currently face belong squarely on the shoulders of these decisions. There are two things that agriculture professionals must surely have known; lack of management would certainly result in population growth, and the state of Nevada is well known for it's cycle of droughts. I find it difficult to understand why there were no actions taken to prevent this current situation. Whether the Department wants the responsibility of managing the horses or not, it is indeed their responsibility. The State, the public, and the horses are now paying the price.

LNorman - 12/13/2012 9:00 AM
0 Votes
Nevada serves it's citizens that are anti-wild horse and not the ones that are pro-wild horse? I would like to see proof that horses purchased by advocates "were returned to the range". Eco-tourism is BIG business worldwide. If 3rd world countries can see the value in that, why can't Nevada?

DDeLucia - 12/12/2012 8:19 PM
0 Votes
Wild horses of the Virginia Range were on the agenda originally, which is why the advocates came. It was later that the agenda was changed. Here is a link to the original version. http://agri.nv.gov/Administration/Board_of_Agriculture/BOA_12_11_12/BOA-12/11/2012/ Thank you so much for covering this important story.
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