Historic Bill to Protect Famed Salt River Wild Horses Passes AZ Legislature with 53-3 House Vote

Phoenix, AZ (May 5, 2016). . . .HB 2340 to protect the famed Salt River wild horses in the Tonto National Forest cleared its last hurdle in the Arizona legislature today with a 53-3 vote in the House of Representatives to approve the bill and send it on to Governor Doug Ducey’s desk for signature.

Last summer, the U.S. Forest Service almost removed and disposed of the Salt River wild horses as stray livestock. HB 2340 clarifies that the horses are not stray livestock and sets the stage for preserving them for future generations.

“This is a historic day for horse advocates, the Salt River wild horses and for the public, which would not stand for the removal and disposal of this herd that is so historically and economically significant to the State of Arizona, ” said Simone Netherlands, president of the Salt River Wild Horse Management Group (SRWHMG). “We are so proud of our legislators for listening to the voice of the people and standing firm for protection of these irreplaceable Arizona treasures.” 

“We are especially grateful to Rep. Kelly Townsend, the bill’s sponsor, for her dedication to saving our wild horses, and to Governor Ducey for his support for protecting this historic herd,” Netherlands added. 

 “Citizens across Arizona and the United States are cheering this victory for the cherished Salt River wild horses,” said Suzanne Roy, Director of the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign, a national coalition.  “We are pleased to have worked alongside our coalition partner, the Salt River Wild Horse Management Group, to ensure passage of this important bill to save the Salt River wild horses. This is a great day for wild horses in Arizona!” 

Right now, SRWHMG horse riders and supporters are waving the Arizona and American flags atop a hill at Coon Bluff in the Tonto National Forest in support of this victory for the Salt River wild horses

In addition to establishing that the horses are not stray livestock, HB 2340 criminalizes killing or harassing a Salt River wild horse, and will codifiy their humane management through a cooperative approach between the community and federal, state and local authorities and the SRWHMG.

The latest rescue of a Salt River wild horse foal on Sunday night by the Salt River Wild Horse Management Group field team is a great example of humane, community-based wild horse management in action. The foal, Pacman, had injured legs (possibly caused by barbed wire) and subsequently developed a severe infection. He is currently receiving intensive treatment at an area veterinary hospital. 

The Salt River Wild Horse Management Group is raising funds to cover the veterinary costs associated with saving the little foal’s life. Donations can be made below. 


The Salt River Wild Horse Management Group is an Arizona non-profit organization established to protect, monitor and scientifically study the Salt River Wild Horses. The SRWHMG has been spearheading the effort to secure lasting protections for this iconic and beloved wild horse herd in the Tonto National Forest.

The American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign (AWHPC) is dedicated to defending America’s wild horses and burros to protect their freedom, preserve their habitat, and promote humane standards of treatment. AWHPC’s mission is endorsed by a coalition of more than 60 horse advocacy, public interest, and conservation organizations.

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