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Would we want our children or grandchildren to see how America's horses are treated by our public agencies?

Alliance of Wild Horse Advocates


Issue: "Trap and toss" horse management. Lies and possible illegal activities surrounding the Nevada Department of Agriculture's plan to dump Virginia Range horses at the livestock sale.

Priority: HIGH

Status: Working

Date: September 7, 2012

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This is Part Nine in a series on the Virginia Range horses and the Nevada Department of Agriculture. To understand the context of this report, please start at Part One.


Even before the night had ended, word was circulating the internet over the rather bizarre evening that the horse advocates experienced at Nevada Livestock Marketing in Fallon. The advocates were bidding on 23 Virginia Range horses that the Nevada Department of Agriculture had trapped and hauled off to the livestock auction where kill buyers plied their trade. Things got so strange that one advocate described the proceedings as the "Wednesday Night Follies."

What some advocates described as shill bids from the livestock market's owner drove the prices to over three times market prices. However the advocates had committed to their supporters that they would not let any of the horses get sold for slaughter and they stood fast.

Link: Advocates Rescue the "South Reno 23"

Public reaction was swift and furious. To cite two examples, a television broadcaster in California called for a boycott of Nevada. The more pragmatic The Desert Independent ran the story in their Sunday edition and called on readers to call Governor Sandoval.

Link: RESCUED: 23 Wild Horses Sent to Slaughter Auction by State of Nevada

Major animal advocacy and horse groups from across the country have indicated that they are now becoming involved in this issue. The prospects of such a reaction don't bode well for Nevada. The last time controversial Nevada horse issues gained the nation's attention, Nevada gaming revenues dropped by 152 million dollars, a staggering loss.

Link: Horse Wars and their Chilling Effect on Tourism.

Most Nevada advocates are hoping that the Governor, who has been away visiting China, will turn his attention back to Nevada and get this horse business straightened out before Americans take their anger out on our state. Advocates have asked concerned citizens to call and express their views, but hold off on changing any vacation decisions until we can all see what the Governor does about the Virginia Range horse situation.


A few weeks ago a Virginia Range foal nicknamed by the locals as "JJ" was observed having a deformed lower lip. Members of the Hidden Valley Wild Horse Protection Fund asked the Nevada Department of Agriculture for permission to have JJ treated at the fund's expense. The Department refused, then picked up JJ and his dam and hauled them off to the livestock sale.

JJ and his dam were among the horses recovered Wednesday night. He is improving rapidly and already has near-normal use of his lower lip.

JJ and his dam.
No more dangling lower lip.

One of the bones of contention between advocates is that the Nevada Department of Agriculture, with great regularity, ignores various requirements set forth in Nevada State Law. A frequent source of friction between the two sides involves the required advertising of horses that the department picks up and intends to sell. The Nevada Revised Statutes specify how, where and when these advertisements have to be run and what information the Department is required to publish before it can legally sell the animals.

The most recent advertisement (shown on the right) describes 25 more horses that were picked up in the south Reno area. As one can see, the notice was published on September 19, 2012. At the bottom of the notice the department does properly disclose that if the horses aren't claimed "within 5 working days after the last publication of the advertisement" that they will be sold on September 26.

"Working days" do not include Saturdays, Sundays or holidays.

As per a previous discussion with the Attorney General's staff, when a statute reads "5 working days after..." the date in which the notice appears cannot be counted as one of the 5 days. Based on this explanation, these horses cannot be sold before September 27, the day after the sale date published in the advertisement.

For any readers who may be contemplating sending holiday gifts to department staffers, perhaps Director Barbee should be sent a calendar.

Continue to
30 More Horses Recovered!

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Return to Part One


Here are actions that you can take to protect the Virginia Range horses. Please remember that these horses fall under the jurisdiction of the Nevada Department of Agriculture and Governor Brian Sandoval. Here is contact information. You are encouraged to express your opinion in this matter. If you call, try to speak with someone in authority. Let's fix this business before more horses go to the kill buyers and we experience another tourism boycott!

The Virginia Range horses are not protected by any federal statute. The involved wild horse groups are just about all that stands between them and the kill buyers. Funds are always needed to protect these horses and to find homes and sanctuary opportunities for those that have been taken off the range.

Every contribution counts. The groups are all staffed by volunteers so the money donated actually goes to pay the expenses for these horses. Please help!


(PayPal donation button)
(To protect horses from illegal actions)


(PayPal donation button)
(To keep horses from kill buyers)

30 More Horses Recovered!

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