Legal Challenge at Owyhee Marches On!

Jackson Mountain roundup done during "foaling season" in June tried to exceed BLM authority and take more horses than were justified to take during June

Jackson Mountain roundup done during “foaling season” in June tried to exceed BLM authority and take more horses than were justified to take during June (TRO won)

On Wild Horse Educations (WHE) website we have posted an explanation of the case to date: What has occurred and what the current hearing set for April 18th is actually about. There is an awful lot of misinformation being spread about the cases carried by Wild Horse Education and the work Laura Leigh is doing in the field, at roundups, in meetings with various agencies and individuals and in the courts. We hope that the extensive post helps to clarify the Owyhee case as it is heading for hearing and needs your support to see it through.

HOWEVER it is NOT the only case carried SOLELY by Wild Horse Education (WHE). To read a brief summary of the legal actions see this page HERE>>>

HOWEVER court actions are NOT the only work that Wild Horse Education (WHE) does. The court actions occur when all other avenues to address issues fail. That means WHE is actively engaged in MANY venues.

ALSO in order to engage any avenue to address an issue you must have first hand knowledge, that requires collection of data and documentation to identify an existing issue and address it. That means WHE is actively engaged in this process prior to engaging any other.


Horse hit with helicopter after extensive “solo” pursuit (Triple B, Leigh)

We hope this post clarifies some of the “mud.” We will be addressing several other areas we are engaged in with similar postings soon. Our First Amendment case has been a complex and difficult process and we realize there is some confusion. The case at Triple B (that now incorporates Jackson Mountain) also has significant misunderstands surrounding it. We are also engaged in several projects devoted to range management that we are melding into one focused project we call “Keep Them in The Wild” and we will address that program in depth soon.

Here is a portion of the post on our website about the Owyhee case:


Run in sub-freezing temperatures at Owyhee (Leigh)

When we are talking about cases involving wild horse and burro issues (particularly issues surrounding handling of animals) writing (and researching) a case, obtaining the temporary restraining order (TRO) and Preliminary Injunction, and gathering and preparing documentation and collecting declarations to support the argument are often done at a frantic pace. As an example, if an issue is documented that raises concern, attempts must be made to address issues through other means first. If those efforts fail, and there is no action made by the erring party at improving the situation, the only option at that point is to address the issues through the courts. Often you find yourself under the gun of time. Many operations take place rapidly and you must create your case before the conduct in question ends, e.g. before a particular roundup ends. However, new case law (created in a case carried by  Wild Horse Education (WHE) has effectively demonstrated that conduct is cyclical, and likely to reoccur, as Bureau of Land Management (BLM) roundups repeat in each area in any given time frame.  In addition, BLM can operate on plans that have not been revised to correct the contested actions, as is the case with the Owyhee Complex of roundups in Nevada where BLM is operating on a Record of Decision that spans ten years. Over the span of the execution of the ten year plan, BLM has not revised the plan to correct the issues presented to them through all avenues.

If you have been following the Owyhee case on our WHE Blog, Facebook page and website, you

Paint falls over barbed wire, Owyhee. 4 other horses were witnessed getting caught at this same gate.

Paint falls over barbed wire, Owyhee. 4 other horses were witnessed getting caught at this same gate.

know that WHE was at the first phase of operations in the Owhyee roundup, almost daily, and documented issues that raised serious concern. WHE documented horses being run into barbed wire, excessive and unjustified  hotshot use, foals literally being run to exhaustion, and horse run until they were steaming in extremely cold temperatures. The distances these horses were stampeded  exceeded ten miles. The next scheduled roundups in the Owyhee Complex operation could require stampeding horses at distances as much as twenty five miles to reach the chosen trap location. These are Issues that WHE, and the  public, through a  letter writing campaign, made every possible attempt to rectify.

And as BLM has chosen not to do the entire Complex operation based on the data used to create the decision, they have now created a situation where, as they move operations forward months or years after data is collected, they now can not accurately determine excess animals exceeding their authority under the Act. In other words they can not accurately determine  how many horses they will leave on the range and will likely leave populations in each Herd Management Area (HMA) well below their claimed “Appropriate Management Level,” or AML.”


Help keep us in the field and the courtroom!

Help keep us in the field and the courtroom!


2 thoughts on “Legal Challenge at Owyhee Marches On!

  1. I find it unbelieveable how much time, money and effort is expended by the Bureau’s legal teams to justify violating the tenents of the Act, disregard any science that supports wild equines OR standards of range health (absent curtailed & enforced livestock grazing, how well would these areas recover?), countenance brutality and, at all costs, avoid any actual MANAGEMENT of these animals beyond roundups. And I find it equally unbelieveable that the court has to sift through this little dance while the Bureau – particularly the field office associated with the Owyhee – hollers in the background like a bunch of middle-schoolers, “Cuz we don’t HAFTA!”.
    I can understand, on the periphery, how Federal lawyers must mold and bend the perception of the law, but how can people with any sense of morality or conscience behave in this manner? There’s a supposition that, if you chose to work in the Wild Horse and Burro Program, you must have had at least a minor regard for these animals – unless it’s loyalty to the nepotism that got you the job in the first place. Does the WH&B Program pay better than other BLM programs? Is it a stepping stone to some kind of awesome power or political structure? Or does the Program allow it’s agents to vent their frustrations on these animals with impunity and so that’s the draw?
    Do agents enter the Program hoping to act as practioners of the wild equine’s eventual demise?
    Really. If you don’t like wild equines, if you feel that this is a perfectly adequate and normal method of ‘management and protection’, perhaps you should question your own motives.
    If the BLM is allowed to interpret or ignore the law to fit it’s own agendas, why shouldn’t everyone else?

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