Developments are happening as fast as, well, a stampeding herd of horses.
For the past several weeks, Mr. William Spriggs and his amazing team of attorneys at Buchanan, Ingersoll & Rooney’s Washington, DC offices have been working tirelessly AND pro bono on our lawsuit to stop the Bureau of Land Management’s roundup of almost 3,000 horses in the Calico Mountains Complex in northwestern Nevada. Our case maintains that the BLM’s plan to remove 80-90 percent of the horses living in this protected area and stockpile them in government holding facilities is flatly illegal.
Just today, famed children’s author Terri Farley, officially joined IDA and Nevada ecologist Craig Dower as plaintiff’s in this important lawsuit. Read IDA’s news release here. Ms. Farley’s beloved Phantom Stallion book series, which is set in the Calico Mountains and tells the stories of the horses living there. The wildly popular series with young readers has sold over a million copies.
Last week, Ms. Farley hand delivered more than 200 letters from young people to the BLM Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board at its meeting in Reno. She and her young readers are passionate advocates for America’s wild horses, and we are grateful to have her at our side in this fight.
A hearing on our motion for an injunction to stop the roundup, which was delayed until December 28, 2009 after we filed suit, will take place on Wednesday in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia before Judge Paul Friedman. I’ll be there along with Ms. Farley, Mr. Downer, and IDA research director Eric Kleiman to watch our brilliant legal team do battle with the government over its destructive and devastating wild horse policies
Meanwhile, the horses at the BLM’s Palomino Valley Adoption Center outside Reno, Nevada spent the weekend in the middle of a blizzard and below freezing temperatures confined to pens with no shelter or way to escape the harsh elements.
Some of these horses had just arrived from the Buckhorn herd management area in California, where the BLM conducted a secret roundup without public notice due to an “internal communications” error.
Although the BLM’s guidelines require adopters of wild horses to provide them with shelter, the agency does not abide by its own rules. Wild horse advocates who live near the facility report observing horses in direct, blistering sun in 105 degree heat and withstanding harsh windstorms without even a tree to block strong gusts and blowing dust. Although the Palomino Valley center is supposed to be a short-term holding facility, investigative reporter George Knapp of KTLA-TV in Las Vegas reports that some horses stay here for years. Mr. Knapp’s investigative series Stampede to Oblivion is a must watch for all who care about America’s wild horses.
Palomino Valley is where the Calico horses are destined to go if we are not successful in stopping the roundup. Wish our attorneys luck and stay tuned for more updates.