Part of an article written by Bonnie Kohleriter and Laura Leigh, Co-Plaintiffs:
The Sheldon horses were our WAR HORSES in WW1. So if you have seen the film “War Horse” you have an idea of what these horses faced. Taken from the range they were placed on trains and sent to the East coast. From there they were loaded onto ships and send to Europe. If they survived the ordeal they then had a bit placed in their mouths and began to tow heavy artillery and serve as cavalry remounts. These horses not only served the US military, but all of our allies as the supply of horses was exhausted. (Horses from the area were used from the Boer war through World War II). They were used by Americans and Europeans as partners with our soldiers fighting for our freedom.
Once the war was over, the remaining horses were left in Northern Nevada and California. Washington gave the orders to kill them but the U S Calvary out West felt bonded to them and set them free. They had fought for our freedom so why should they not be set free?
The pronghorns were declining around the early 1900s so in 1931 a refuge was set aside for them, the Sheldon National Refuge. Horses and pronghorns coexisted. Then in the early 2000s a movement began to eliminate the horses. They were, after all, “feral,” non-native, and they questionably caused habitat degradation with 1 horse for every 717 acres of land. An environmental assessment and record of decision was completed in 2008, which was to guide the gathering, removing and placement of horses and burros until a CCP (comprehensive conservation plan), could be put in place which was signed in April, 2013.
Decisions were made to remove all the horses and burros from the Sheldon National Refuge. With those decisions followed a “what to do with the horses and burros?” The written decision was to provide “safe, humane, good” care and to secure same in long-term adoptive homes.
But that is not what has happened.
An investigation showed that from 2010-2012 one of the “carefully chosen contractors” allowed horses to go to those that shipped to slaughter. Records were not appropriately kept and no references or adoption applications were required. Sheldon did no follow up until late fall of 2012 after being notified that this situation existed with one of it’s contractors, J&S Associates (Stan Palmer).
After an internal investigation that proved many of the allegations were true, Sheldon still renewed the contract and now plans to send 252 horses, along with $1,000 a head, to the Mississippi based contractor. This is almost the total of horses sent in the previous years of 2010-2012. If J&S could not find acceptable placement for 260 horses in three years how does Sheldon believe he will place 252 in one year? Or do they even care?
Sheldon spend less than 60 days looking for alternatives.
The last of our “war horses” are going to disappear and many will land back into the slaughter pipeline.
Sheldon considers this significant piece of American, and Nevada’s, history as a “feral pest” to be exterminated. The Refuge will assert that because they are not part of the “natural eco-system” that they must go forever. Evidence that horses are actually a reintroduced native species falls on deaf ears with a response from John Kasbohm, the Director of the Refuge, saying “so are camels,” with an absolute disregard in his voice.
It should be noted that another National Wildlife Refuge in Witchita has a herd of long-horned cattle managed in a refuge because they were declared an “historic treasure.” Are our war horses not an historic treasure?
Please take a moment to write to the following:
Harry Reid: http://www.reid.senate.gov/contact/index.cfm
Governor Sandoval: “Declare a Proclamation” http://gov.nv.gov/Contact/Proclamation/
We at Wild Horse Education thank you for taking the time to send a letter. If you send a letter please send us a copy of what you sent to: SheldonAction@gmail.com. If possible we will present the letters in court.
Dear Elected Official,
I beg you to stop the removal of a living symbol of American history from the great State of Nevada.
Right now Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge is removing the very last of the horses that are direct descendants of horses that served our US Cavalry until as late as World War II. These horses are being removed forever without protections protections against landing in a slaughter plant to be eaten by foreign diners.
These horses should be declared an historic monument and protected, just as a herd of long-horn cattle is protected at a National Wildlife Refuge in Witchita. Why is Nevada’s contribution to American history worthless is the eyes of the Refuge?
I beg of you to intervene and stop the shipment of 252 horses to a contractor known to fail to protect and care for horses.
I beg of you to declare the horses at Sheldon an American historical monument and the last 415 horses left within the boundaries of the Refuge be managed for generations to come. These horses are America’s own “War Horse.”
Follow the court actions on this issue and others at: http//:WildHorseEducation.org