Issue: The sale of Virginia Range Horses removed from Lockwood
Status: Concluded Incident / Informational
Date: January 5, 2012
On December 27th the Nevada Department of Agriculture held a "parking lot sale" for some Virginia Range horses that they trapped and removed from the Lockwood area. The allied horse groups refused to participate in the sale as it was clearly in violation of state laws although they indicated that they would accept the horses if the proper paperwork was provided. (For background information on this issue please click
here.) As a result the horses were not placed that day.
The Department of Agriculture took the horses to the Nevada Livestock Exchange in Fallon, NV on January 4, 2012. There the allied horse groups, bankrolled by donations collected by the
Let 'Em Run Foundation purchased the horses at the sale.
There were a number of problems associated with this "purchase" including incorrect descriptions of the horses, a faulty brand clearance certificate and other discrepancies, however the allies took possession of eight horses at the sale. (These discrepancies will be discussed in a subsequent article.)
It was nearly twilight when we were finally able to load out the horses. We discovered that what was advertised by the state as being a (gelded) stallion, four mares and three weanlings actually consisted of a (gelded) stallion, three mares and four weanlings. We have yet to determine what happened to the dam of the fourth weanling, but we were prepared to take what we were provided with. We had one humorous moment when we couldn't find the former stallion in the labyrinth of pens. One volunteer called out, "Where's the stallion?" Right at that time a horse stuck his head out into the aisleway about 100 yards away and gave out a loud whinny. We found all the horses and we were ready to go.
We removed the horses. As it was late we rested the foals for the night in Stagecoach and the adult horses in Dayton.
Looking at their heights as compared with the fence panels, there were clearly four foals in this lot of horses.
The next day we transported the horses to the
Nevada B Mustang Sanctuary in Douglas County. The horses were reunited as a family band. After they settle for a few days, the crew and volunteers at Nevada B will determine which horses are compatible for gentling, and they will provide training and place those horses with competent adopters. Those that don't show an affinity for humans will likely stay in sanctuary pasture.
The stallion was released first. He went about 50 yards,
then turned back to encourage his mares to come along.
The mares joined the (former) stallion.
The weanlings were then released to join the others.
After exploring around they all reunited as a family unit.
As we were pulling out we looked back. The foals were starting to play with each other and roll in the grass. All in all it was a good day.
The significance of these operations.
Nevada B Mustang Sanctuary is a major player in rescuing and rehoming mustangs and this program does a tremendous amount of good. Of course they are helping a lot of horses. In addition the hay and supplies they buy put a lot of money right here in our local economy. According to research done by the Reno-Sparks Small Business Co-Op, every dollar spent locally circulates seven times before it is used up, as opposed to money that disappears overseas when it is spent on foreign consumer products. Additionally, according to university studies each horse that is rehomed or placed with an adopter will contribute an average of $20,000.00 to the local economy because the adopter chooses to divert part of his/her disposable income for the care and maintenance of the horse, as opposed to purchasing foreign made consumer goods.
Hay that was being delivered as we released the horses.
A number of organizations were involved in this effort including the Let 'EM Run Foundation that collected donations and acted as the "bank" to acquire the horses, LRTC that handled logistics, and groups such as the Hidden Valley Wild Horse Protection Fund that helped raise funds. However Nevada B has committed to the long term support of these horses and training and placement for those horses that show potential for integrating successfully into the domestic environment. Nevada B Mustang Sanctuary should definitely be a part of your "charity list."
We also found at the auction a 25 year old BLM mare that someone had dumped at the sale. Silver Springs resident Laura Bell brought an extra trailer to the sale to assist with transportation if necessary. She got a bidder number and took the old mare so no horses were left behind. Upon getting the horse home Laura found her to be a nice old horse that really liked human contact.
"Natasha" in her new corral awaiting introduction to the "herd."
If anyone wants to understand why the advocates are so adamant that the Department of Agriculture follow the law, wait until you see the messed up paperwork associated with these horses.