Wild horses cross a road outside Reno NV. Source: CNN iReport.

Wild horse controversy heats up Nevada

Wild horses cross a road outside Reno NV. Source: CNN iReport.
Wild horses cross a road outside Reno NV. Source: CNN iReport.

As reported by CBS News Channel 2 KTVN Reno


The controversy over wild horses in Nevada is heating up again. A group of about two dozen organized a demonstration in front of the Capital in Carson City on Friday.

And earlier this week an emotionally charged confrontation between a private landowner and a wild horse advocate took place in south Reno. It was later posted on YouTube (see below).

An unidentified woman charged at the camera protesting that horses were being trapped and moved rather than simply fenced out. The landowner caught it on his cell phone and launched it on YouTube.

“This is a fence out state!,” insists Tonia Tavcar. “If landowners don’t want horses on their land they don’t have to trap them and send them to slaughter, they can just fence them out!”

“It seems logical, I admit,” says Ed Foster, Public Information Officer with the State Department of Agriculture. “But we are charged with responding to complaints when stray animals, including horses, are a nuisance and doing something about it. But we don’t have the authority to make a landowner put up a fence!”

Foster adds the drought is fueling problems as more horses search for food and water. And he says for a while they did sell horses back to the advocates at a very low price. That he says, seemed to work until those same horses resurfaced on the range and were picked up again.

It’s all resulted in a lawsuit filed Friday, by the State of Nevada against the advocates for releasing the animals.

The lawsuit names advocate Willis Lamm. It charges the ‘Let ‘em Run Foundation’ with failure to brand or mark their animals, abandoning an animal and allowing an animal to be injured or deprived of food and water – all misdemeanor charges.

Read full report >>

RELATED VIDEO (referenced above)

13 thoughts on “Wild horse controversy heats up Nevada”

  1. 9-17-2012 I don’t know the details about this fiasco, but IMO there is a methodical “WAR” against America’s wild horses-burros and their advocates by NvDOA, BLM and their political conies at the state and federal level. The article stated “one of the horses got out and they found it near McCarren and Clear Water Way in Reno.” Hay man, this horse was going back home! Know that these horses are wild ones under the 1971 Federal Act (Wild Horse Annie’s horses) and under that Act they were supposedly protected. These horses are of the original 308 Horse Springs HA in the Virginia Range that was “zeroed out” on paper during the mid 1980’s. After the “good ole boy” hand shake, these wild ones were subjected to on-going mustanging and slaughter (I have copies of the NvDOA brand certificates) with the blessing of the NvDOA, BLM, Storey County commissioners, then John Tyson(aka Range Rader…oops Range Rider), then Sheriff DelCarlo (sp?), the late Mansfield of the 102 ranch, etc. There is so much more to the plight of these wild ones.
    Betty Kelly, long-time WHB advocate/rescuer


  2. These horses have been set up by a “couldn’t care less” attitude of authorities, who have allowed cattle to strip the vegetation and then waited for the horses to become desperate, also by the thoughtless homeowners who wouldn’t fence their yards and who meanly complained well knowing doing so would send the innocent set up horses to an uncertain fate, slavery even death!


  3. It seems some here seem to think this is a BLM issue. This particular issue is regarding the Nevada Department of Agriculture. BLM doesn’t have a dog in this current local fight. In actuality the Northern Nevada BLM has become more inclusive and changed some policy to open doors a bit and do what’s right for the horses recently. I’m hoping it continues and grows. We’ll see!!! The biggest thing we have to do regarding BLM Wild Horse and Burro policy is get legislation put through to wipe out at least the “Burns Rider” that was put in place a few years back and then continue to change Washington, the local offices pretty much run on what they are told to enforce “from ABOVE”. The Nevada Department of Ag on the other hand has gone completely off the cliff with no sanity in sight at the moment and our local “feral” wild horses are in complete and immediate jeopardy and danger of going to auction and slaughter. They are rounding up as many as they can and as fast as they can in a “see what happens if you mess with us” move to intimidate and use power plays. It’s more than disgusting that this Governor and those in charge at NDA have taken an absolutely and outright arrogant and egotistical “my way or the highway” approach EVEN going against laws and statutes in the process and intentionally sending horses that ARE NOT creating a “nuisance” to the auction that will end up in the God Forsaken Slaughter Plants AND have intentionally stripped away any sort of “safety net” that was in place just a couple of years ago. It’s truly sicking and in a state that when Wild Horse polls are taken, the polls have consistantly been above 75% of Nevadans that WANT the horses cared for properly, roaming as free as possible and protected otherwise. The NDA is devoid of morals, conscienous or any sign that THEY WORK for the PEOPLE in the state NOT special interest or a sole individual’s idea.


  4. i do not support the horse slaughter either.but its not all blm doing all this.you should read more you can get many sides.think outside the box.theres 3n sides to every story.the truth.a lie and whats between.blm actually has many funds and grants set up to help animals.earth.nature.and so on in all contrys.they need to be focused on canadas horses now.canada is killing there race horses.make sure u all throw a stink about that too!these are owners of the animals in canada.here in the states,blm actually is building to the future and putting alot of horses in sanctuaries all over the states.i stay nutrual.i decide for myself after i read all facts not just one sided.you dont get all the facts when its one sided.i hate to think of any animal put down.but it happens all over.we dont have to acept it.but sometimes people really do stupied things.against nature.humans.and the laws.some times laws suck.but people gotta work and do there jobs.i wouldnt want there jobs.


    1. I’m sorry akacheshireakacheshire, but you have no idea what you’re talking about when it comes to the BLM…..I have been dealing with them for over 20 years now here in Nevada, I have supported their adoption program, I have transported adopted Mustangs to their new homes, etc, but even with all that, they refuse to stop the eradication of our BLM wild horses and also our State horses…..and unless you live here where we are dominated by the factions that are intent on controlling and using as their own all of our public and State land, your opinion just seems completely ignorant to people like me who interact with people from the above mentioned factions, the BLM and the State….it is not as it appears in the news….very sad that you are being brain washed by the media propaganda.
      And about the horses in Canada; most horse advocates that I am associated with are heavily involved in that issue too, as well as many, many others……..


  5. It is sick…we had wild horses up on our cattle ranch where I grew up…so what. These horses are like all of living creatures…we need water and food….I DO NOT support slaughtering horses at all…and I do NOT support killing off the wild horses anywhere. My Dad put up with them and I saw the way they lived which was interesting…for over 30 years I rode knowing they were there and every once in a while I would see them:)


  6. You know I live in California. I love Nevada because of its open land, the beautiful blue skies and the wild life that if you are lucky, you will see out on the range lands. I’ve traveled through Nevada for one reason or another, and I have always thrilled when speaking to the people who live there. Their lives speak to the spirit of the American values – freedom being the root of their existence. I have found we have so much in common and even inspired by their rugged ability to live gracious lives in such majesty.

    That is, up to the last few years. I have recently come to know certain people and come to know their greedy, callous and self-serving ways. In these circumstances, which involve the mustangs and burros (protected by the Free Roaming Act and under state law) it is becoming the state of the advocacy for these beautiful spiritual beings to at some time have to deal with humans so self possessed with their own positions of authority, power or access to money that it quickly becomes apparent the welfare of the horses is not the common grounds.

    This recent news of suit filed against the most outspoken and resourceful of all the rescues in Nevada strikes me as outrageously despicable . The defendants in this case are actively involved in rescue, training, adoption, worked with the prisons on the prison’s first training centers, adoptions of wild horses and available for foal rescue. And have for many years successfully worked with state owned wild horses and burros at the request of the state of Nevada.

    It is thus now inexcusable that they are the subjects of this legal harassment and I believe that Mr. Barbee has been inspired to take this action by other advocates who have crossed the line into the shadows of unreasonable revenge. I sincerely encourage The Department of Agriculture to voluntarily dismiss this complaint and get back to the table to negotiate the proper management of the horses on the Wild Horse Range.


  7. The State of Nevada and the BLM are disgusting, immoral and unethical agencies because they are RULED and CONTROLLED by the factions that most of us tax payers are forced to subsidize in their PRIVATE businesses just as they are completely and totally taking away any of the tax payers ability to utilize the public and state land without bumping into fences wherever we turn….and its just icing on the cake and an extra bonus when some jerk homeowner complains about the horses being nuisances rather than doing the correct thing which would be to fence the horses off their property (funny how the homeowner is NEVER brave enough to come forward and say they called in the complaint; probably because they know they’re jerks and no one else agrees with them)…..thus far, the wild horses have been the only animals keeping fences from going up even faster than they already are because unlike other wild animals, it is still illegal to simply shoot them, poison them, burn them, etc.
    These factions are also quite clearly worried that more and more “regular” American citizens are being educated about the racket they are running using tax payers money to run their private businesses and also are the ones behind the eradication of ALL of our BLM and State wild horses, so just as capturing wild horses ramped up in the late ’60’s right before the 1971 Federal Protection Act went into effect, they are waging a desperate on-slaught upon wild horses and burros throughout the western states to eliminate as many as they can and take over as much land as they can before they are stopped.
    Any State and BLM employees who participate in these captures (especially of the State horses who now face INHUMANE slaughter because they are not federally protected, and this is why Nevada is losing tourist income by the hundreds of millions because of the killing of our State of Nevada wild horses) should be ashamed of themselves because if you have any kind of heart, than sooner-or-later your conscience will get the best of you and you’ll regret what you are doing and have done to the wild horses and burros just so the factions can take over the land and put more money in their own pockets.


  8. Goverment thinks their slick by getting rid of these horses. People beware if a EMP was to happen horses would be one of only a few options for some sort of transportation. Our world could change at a blink of an eye. Everybody better get a clue. Horses were put here for a reason and rightfully so to be free.


  9. It’s horrible to be a horse today in any state. Horses aren’t eating anyone out of house and home. They move on besides. How totally intolerant.


  10. It’s astoninshing to me that, yet again, the State of Nevada’s ‘governing’ bodies choose to kill these animals by extension. (These horses are not under the purview of the Bureau of Land Management; if they were, there would at least be some discussion between the agents and the advocates. These animals are under the jurisdiction of Nevada’s Agriculture Department, an agency that has historically treated these animals with the same disdain as coyotes.)

    It’s disturbing, how dangerous it’s become to be an equine in this country, isn’t it? There seems to be little ‘gray area’; either they’re held in deep regard, or none at all.


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