By Jaime Hayden, Fox Reno
Even though the economy seems to be picking up, it has claimed one casualty in the form of the biggest wild horse adoption center.
The economy is taking its toll on horse adoptions. The federal bureau of land management's biggest wild horse adoption center is facing cuts and horse advocates aren't too happy about it. The Palomino Valley National Wild Horse and Burro Adoption Center is cutting back its weekend operations. The facility will remain open on weekdays, but will only be open the first Saturday of each month beginning April 6th. Carolyn Chad of the BLM says the center isn’t fully staffed, and weekend costs can rise fast.
“They require 7 days a week feeding and care,” Chad said. “And having it open for public visitation requires increased staffing.”
But horse advocates say the cuts will come with big costs for the animals.
“I think that if they really want to adopt these horses they have to be open on Saturday,” said Terri Farley with the American wild horse preservation campaign. “Most people, who can afford to take a horse and feed a horse, work.”
But Chad says Saturdays have seen few adoptions and visitors and not only in our area. She says annual horse adoptions are down nationwide from a peak of around 8000 horses to 2500 horses a year, today.
“With the economy and with feed costs up with drought conditions, hay is becoming prohibitively expensive and horses are a luxury,” Chad said.
Chad says the BLM is very committed to adopting as many horses as they can, but they have to adjust their strategy and work within their budgetary constraints. The BLM also says they can accommodate appointments to people who can’t make the only open Saturday of the month.