By David Danelski, The Press-Enterprise
A wild horse advocacy group is criticizing the U.S. Bureau of Land Management for deciding to separate and auction off a family of eight mustangs recently lured into corrals near Carson City, Nevada.The American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign and the Humane Society of the United States had opposed rounding up the horses, which local residents said they had been watching and enjoying through generations of the animals.
But BLM officials in a news release called the horses a danger.
“The BLM has received several complaints of people feeling threatened by the wild horses, ” BLM said the press statement. “The horses are outside of HMA (herd management area) boundaries the majority of the time and residents, especially horse owners, can quickly find themselves in potentially dangerous situations as domestic wild horse encounters can be very unpredictable and uncontrollable.”
Some residents told the Los Angeles Times watching the capture was heartbreaking.
After losing the roundup battle, the wild horse advocates offered to send the whole family to a 2,000-acre sanctuary in Northern California, according to the wild horse preservation campaign.
“At the sanctuary, the horses can remain together and live wild for the rest of their lives,” said a news release from the group.
But the BLM has instead decided to auction off the eight horses separately, though it is possible for the horse advocates to keep them together by being the highest bidder on all the animals, said Lisa Ross, a BLM spokeswoman. Additionally, a mare and her new foal will be kept together.
Ross said the decision to auction off the horses was made before the horse group offered the plan to keep the animals together. The auction is set for March 23 at a ranch in the Carson City area.
“The auction was already scheduled, and there are other people interested in adopting these horses,” Ross said.
Many of the wild horses rounded up by the BLM wind up at federal corrals in Ridgecrest and are later transported to a ranch in Redlands, where they are offered for adoption.