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Alliance of Wild Horse Advocates


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

Priority: HIGH

Status: Working

Date: October 16, 2012

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This is Part Eleven 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.


Virginia City, NV

A number of Virginia City residents were alarmed to discover a horse trap on county property near the "Ice House" at the south end of Virginia City where it meets Gold Hill.

Residents found it even more disconcerting to discover County Public Works Director Mike Nevin involved with the trapping operation.

The trap netted 29 free-roaming Virginia Range horses, including several foals and yearlings that are now at risk of being shipped to Mexico to be slaughtered for table meat. (Foals are a particular delicacy in Europe and Asia.)

A number of residents derided the Nevada Department of Agriculture for setting the trap. They claimed that the horses, popular with tourists, annually passed through town and moved down to the lower elevations once the winter snows started.

A spokesperson for the Nevada Department of Agriculture claimed that the department acted in response to a request from the Storey County Sheriff. Sheriff Antinoro disavowed making any such request although he indicated that his office did pass along a couple of complaints by residents that horses were getting into their yards. The details of this exchange can be read in the Virginia City News.

A spokesperson for Storey County claimed that Nevin's involvement was for "humane reasons," presumably to make sure that the trapped horses had food and water. Some of the locals expressed doubts about that explanation, believing that someone had to close the gate once the horses wandered in for the bait and that it was the Department of Agriculture's responsibility, not the county's, to monitor and maintain horse traps.

The horses are scheduled to be dumped at Nevada Livestock Marketing on Wednesday, October 24th. Horse advocates led by the Hidden Valley Wild Horse Protection Fund will attempt to complete with the kill buyers for these horses.

The Hidden Valley Wild Horse Protection Fund greatly needs qualified adopters and appropriate sanctuary opportunities for these horses. In addition to this group of 29 horses, Hidden Valley and its allies have acquired over 70 additional horses from previous sales and the Nevada Department of Agriculture is presently involved in stripping even more horses from the range, this time in Stagecoach. Financial support for Hidden Valley and the allied groups is critical in order to carry out this mission. Any help in finding appropriate permanent homes for these horses would be greatly appreciated.

Meanwhile you can help try to end this onslaught on Velma "Wild Horse Annie" Johnston's historic herd by contacting the officials listed at the bottom of this page and expressing your views.

Continue to
"Virginia City 29" 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)

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