Washoe County Commissioners Vote to Support Virginia Range Horse Management Public-Private Partnerships

Washoe County Commissioners Vote to Support Virginia Range Horse Management Public-Private Partnerships

Reno, NV -- December 9, 2014 – Earlier today, the Washoe County Commissioners unanimously passed a resolution affirming the value of wild horses to the State of Nevada and supporting the implementation of public/private partnership agreements for the humane management of wild horses and burros in Nevada that are not protected by federal law. The resolution throws the weight of Washoe County behind a proposed cooperative agreement between wild horse advocacy organizations and the Nevada Department of Agriculture (NDA) for the humane management of the historic wild horses of the Virginia Range.

The Storey County Commission is expected to adopt a similar resolution in the near future, and the Storey County manager sent a letter of endorsement for the resolution passed today by the Washoe County Commission.

The American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign (AWHPC), under Return to Freedom, is working to expand the existing public/private partnership with the State of Nevada to include the humane management of the Virginia Range horses. Currently the group has an agreement that allows them to directly purchase from the NDA Virginia Range horses that have been captured and removed from the range. The second cooperative agreement, which will relate to management of horses on the range, has been under negotiations for more than one year and is expected to be finalized in January 2015. That agreement will allow the group, and local partner organizations, to work collaboratively with the NDA to humanely manage the Virginia Range wild horse population. Key components of the management plan include a humane fertility control program to reduce population numbers over time; fencing and diversionary feeding to improve public safety and address potential human/horse conflicts by keeping horses out of harm’s way; and ecotourism and educational programs.

Today Washoe County resolution titled "Wild Horse and Burro Protection in Northern Nevada" states the following:

WHEREAS, Nevada is home to more than half of the Nation's wild horse population; and

WHEREAS, Wild horses and burros are living symbols of our American Western heritage as represented by the depiction of wild horses on the Nevada State quarter; and

WHEREAS, The Wild and Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971 covers the management, protection and study of feral horses and burros on federal lands; and

WHEREAS, Portions of Washoe, Storey and Lyon counties include habitat for wild horse populations outside of the jurisdiction and protection of The Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971 and under the responsibility of the State of Nevada; and

WHEREAS, Residents within Washoe County are passionate about the management, protection and preservation of the wild horse population; and

WHEREAS, State statute allows the State to enter into cooperative agreements with public entities and non-profits for the management, control, placement of wild horses and burros; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That Washoe County supports the implementation of humane management cooperative agreements between private non-profits and public agencies to address the management of wild horses and burros not protected by federal law.

--signed David Humke, Chairman, Washoe County Commission

Local partner organizations involved in the humane management cooperative agreement include the Hidden Valley Wild Horse Preservation Fund (Reno), Least Resistance Training Concepts (Stagecoach), Virginia Range Sanctuary (Reno), Virginia Range Wildlife Protection Association (Virginia City), Wild Horse Preservation League (Dayton), The Wild Spirit Horse, Inc (Silver Springs).

The American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign, founded in 2004 by Return to Freedom, is a coalition of more than 70 horse advocacy, public interest, and conservation organizations dedicated to preserving the American wild horse in viable, free-roaming herds for generations to come.

Return to Freedom is dedicated to preserving the freedom, diversity and habitat of America's wild horses through sanctuary, education and conservation. RTF provides refuge to 400 wild horses at its California-based American Wild Horse Sanctuary.

 

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