Nevada Ag board, advocates spar over wild horses

Written by GEOFF DORNAN for the Nevada Appeal

Wild and estray horses are a growing problem along Highway 50 east of Carson City, but frustrated members of the state Board of Agriculture say they have little power and no money to do anything about it.

But horse advocates say the problems of overpopulation and horses too close to homes and highways were created by policy changes enacted by department Director Tony Lesperance when he took over three years ago.

Horses living in the Virginia Range routinely cross Highway 50 between Carson City and Dayton seeking food and water. The road has seen 13 accidents involving horses in the past four of years. The result: 13 dead horses and two injured drivers.

“It’s just a matter of time before someone gets killed on that road,” said Ramona Morrison, a board member from Nye County.

“I’m an animal lover as much as the next guy but I feel like we’ve got to be able to manage these horses,” said Board Chairman Alan Perazzo of Fallon. “I don’t care who takes over, they’ve got to be given the authority to manage them humanely, not just to put them out on a range with no feed.”

While members of the board, an 11-members appointed panel that oversees the Department of Agriculture, didn’t say so directly, it was clear that “manage” means to reduce the herd by killing horses.

The Department of Wildlife, Morrison said, “manages by numbers, by hunts.”

The Wildlife Department manages every wild species in Nevada except horses. The Bureau of Land Management manages wild horses on federal land, but horses on state land are under the purview of the Agriculture Department. Read more >>

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