Renewed Motion filed to stop Rock Creek wild horse roundup in NV

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Herd Watch Director Continues Fight for First Amendment Rights

RENO, Nev. (July 23, 2010) — Laura Leigh, Herd-Watch Director for the Cloud Foundation and journalist, filed a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) in Nevada Federal District Court today to halt the Rock Creek Roundup and prevent a repeat fatal summer roundup and the shutting out of the public and plaintiff from observing wild horse roundups.

“We’re talking about a matter of public interest,” explained Leigh’s attorney Gordon Cowan. “This is a hot button issue here in Nevada. To prevent the public and press from observing the government in action on public lands is shameful.”

Leigh is asking the court for the following:

    1.) Immediate cessation of all horse gather activity in the Rock Creek and Little Humboldt Horse Management Areas in northwestern Elko County, to maintain the status quo until the matter may be heard by the court. There is no purported emergency or pressing urgency to remove horses from purported drought conditions as was contended by Defendants, in Owyhee;

    2.) A Temporary Restraining Order enjoining the government Defendants from conducting helicopter wild horse gathers during summer months and so close to the foaling season. There are many foals three months in age or less, running alongside the hips of their moms. If removal of some of these horses is necessary, in that event the Defendants can reschedule and complete this process in the Fall season or at the end of Summer when temperatures are more mild and foals are more mature and better adept at withstand the gather. To gather at this date is inhumane and directly contradictory to provisions of the Free Roaming Wild Horse and Burro Act of 1971;

    3.) A Temporary Restraining Order that at this point requires the Defendants in no uncertain terms to include and accommodate members of the public, the press and journalists including Ms. Leigh and others who are not hand-picked by the Defendants, to view every step of the process of gathering horses from public lands, such that the Defendants’ gather method and process becomes open and transparent from beginning to end, rather than secretive and hidden from the public as it is currently; and such that the method of protecting the health and safety of the public during these gathers is not used as the excuse to restrict, limit or otherwise offend First Amendment speech and press concerns but instead, ensures independence in observing and reporting the Defendants’ gather activities in a method encouraging liberal access and safe accommodation to the public including Ms. Leigh, to observe and record these gathers;

    4.) To require the Defendants to conduct such gathers on public lands should private land owners not be willing or able to accommodate members of the public, the press, journalists or other interested persons including Ms. Leigh, in their observation of these gathers.

In his decision issued on July 16, Nevada District court Judge Larry Hicks recognized that the Owyhee complex roundups consist of three distinct and separate actions. Although BLM presented to the court claims that an unexpected and unprecedented emergency existed in the Owyhee herd management area, no emergency either claimed or proven exists in Rock Creek were BLM is currently rounding up horses. The public was permitted to observe the roundup for a short time only today.

We hope the TRO will be granted and the case can be heard before all the horses are gone from Rock Creek and Little Humboldt herd management areas,” stated Leigh.

According to the TRO the BLM used the “private property” tactic to strike fear among those seeking to observe the Defendants’ gather operation. Members of the public were threatened with immediate, on-the-spot arrest should they “trespass,” intentionally or not, onto the very land the Defendants chose to set their horse traps to complete the Owyhee gather.

Nearly two-dozen wild horses, including many foals, have already died as a result of the BLM’s Tuscarora roundups from which the agency plans to remove 1,100 wild horses and leave only 440.

Contrary to the BLM’s spin that the Owyhee horses were dying due to lack of water in their environment—a so called “emergency”, veterinarian Nina Windand goes on the record to explain the wild horses died due to the lack of proper care after being rounded up and stressed in desert heat.

The lack of controlled reintroduction of water to these dehydrated, overheated recently stressed horses and the failure to use commonsense horsemanship by letting them drink ad lib under these conditioned caused unnecessary deaths by water intoxication,” states Nina Windand, DVM. “It is my opinion that this constitutes negligent management and that had expert or even common sense management prevailed a plan for gradual rehydration would have been instituted before the gather was in progress, not after the initial wave of deaths. I further believe that leaving animals in this condition without overnight monitoring was a lapse of professional judgment.

Dr. Windand condemns the Owyhee roundup saying, “The uncontroverted fact remains that nearly all horses who reportedly perished, did so during the process of gather itself or immediately thereafter while the horses were in the custody of the BLM, but not before”.

BLM continues to ignore both the public’s first amendment rights and wild horse welfare. Advocates are outraged that BLM continues forward, at rapid speed, with their multi-million dollar roundups as the agency strives to remove more than 6,000 wild horses and burros in the next three months.

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Source: The Cloud Foundation Press Release

5 thoughts on “Renewed Motion filed to stop Rock Creek wild horse roundup in NV”

  1. There are arrest to be made at the BLM….. God Bless Laura Leigh……………………I am now thinking you are indeed the Hero that our Mustangs deserve……………..Go Laura !!!


  2. I AM outraged by the criminal behavior of the BLM, Abbey, and Salazar. All this for the sake of big oil. Where is the federal investigation?


  3. This charade and enduring decimation is plainly criminal. The United States government sitting back, rescinding their own laws along with the debatable moral principles of the judges residing over these proceedings is in no way democratic but rather autocratic felony. I fail to comprehend how these elected and appointed bureaucrats can continue this unabashedly and without consideration of the facts. Who and how can anyone stop this deplorable mockery? It is without a doubt illegal and seems to be outside the bounds of anyone, regardless of who they are and what they represent. Even with these restraining orders, will the same judge(s) be involved in handing down the court’s decision? Definitely reminiscent of Nazi Germany and the Hitler regime in my personal opinion. God help us all. Where are their consciences and their moral obligations to the nation?


  4. This is, indeed, an outrageous treatment of America’s very underpopulated wild horses, a squeeze play to displace them even within their greatly reduced herd management areas. Reform of the wild horse and burro program is urgently needed. Write Senators about shaping up and passing Restore Our American Mustangs bill Senate bill 1579 now!


  5. The public should be outraged. This is thier tax dollars being thrown away for the sake of power and control by the BLM. There isn’t any emergency and there isn’t a water shortage or food shortage. The horses are in excellant condition until they are terrorized by a helicopter chasing them over volcanic rock desert until thier mare abort thier foals or die from exhaustion before the foals are even born and the foals that are born quickly die after their hooves are run literally off -down to the quick! Some who break a leg in this inhumane scene are shot on the spot. No humane injection to let them die in peace. When our economy is so bad this money could be better spent feeding, clothing, and housing the homeless who have lost their homes due to unemployment and could support the millions of unemployed with extended benefits and help small business to hire people and get loans to grow thier business. Instead we have thousands of square feet of office space empty, small businesses and restraunts closing every day and even dentists closing thier practices because no one can afford dental work or even to get thier teeth checked or cleaned. Of course Mr. Salazar can afford whatever he wants and so can Mr. Abby. They should be ashamed of themselves, but they are so far above the law they don’t have to worry about the things we everyday citizens of American do. They are unamerican and do not belong in a place of authority in our Government. Please write, e-mail, call the presidents comment line at 202-456-1111 and keep calling and calling. We need to get our message across to stop the BLM’s unnecessary roundups and cruelty to our Western Heritage (The Wild Horses of the West)


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