Suit against the BLM

Cloud_in_neat_light_WEBPryors Lawsuit (2009)

Front Range Equine Rescue joined plaintiffs The Cloud Foundation and Carol Walker to bring a lawsuit due to BLM’s decision to roundup the Pryor Mountain herd in September of 2009. Attorneys Valerie Stanley & Bruce Wagman continue to work hard on this case, which seeks to raise the appropriate management level of the herd (now stands at 90-120 horses). The Forest Service currently denies wild horse use in the Custer National Forest and erected a 2 mile-long fence to block the horses from using that crucial grazing ground. The judge ruled against the plaintiffs in this case; careful consideration was given to filing an appeal. It was decided to utilize legal arguments and limited funds to a future lawsuit on behalf of this herd.

Pryors Lawsuit (2006)

Our lawsuit against the Bureau of Land Management and the Forest Service continues. The Court has ruled that our claims against the Forest Service are barred by the statute of limitations. The Forest Service issued its Forest Plan in 1987, limiting the geographic areas of lands under its jurisdiction in which it would legally recognize the right of horses to occupy. The Forest Service claimed that since suit was not brought within 6 years of 1987, these claims cannot be heard. Besides the fact that none of the plaintiff organizations were even in existence in 1987, much less affected by the ruling then, we also argued that the Forest Service failed to recognize additional areas of wild horse historical use at the passage of the Wild Free Roaming Horses and Burros Act and that, since the agency has failed to act, the statute of limitations should not bar this suit. Our claims against the Forest Service can be reviewed on appeal, at the conclusion of the case.

What remains pending is the portion of our suit against the BLM. The government has submitted all the documents that were before the BLM when it made its decision. Included in this are charts showing exactly how each wild horse has been affected by PZP. The government and plaintiffs are submitting legal memorandum supporting their positions and referencing these documents. These will be filed by mid March.

To learn the facts about how the government is systematically destroying our wild horse and burro herds…we highly recommend the following reading: “Managing for Extinction” and/or Hope Ryden’s “America’s Last Wild Horses”.

“America’s Last Wild Horses”

On July 7, 2006, The Cloud Foundation and Front Range Equine Rescue filed a federal lawsuit against the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the U.S. Forest Service with regard to protecting America’s most famous wild horse herd (“Cloud’s herd”) in the Pryor Mountains of Montana.

Update: The U.S. Forest Service filed to be dismissed from the complaint. A judge has yet to hear this argument. The entire complaint has been held up in the (lack of) judicial process.

In spite of protests from wild horse advocates to preserve Cloud’s head – below are excerpts from a letter, dated 6/29/06, from Sandra Brooks, Field Manager, BLM:

“In order to manage for healthy horses on healthy rangelands, I have made the decision to use fertility control vaccine on all mares 11 years of age and older (24 mares in 2006) on the Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Range (PMWHR). Seven mares 16 years of age and older have already been treated with the Porcine Zona Pellucida (PZP) vaccine and would continue to receive annual boosters for the remainder of their lives. Thirteen mares 12-15 years of age have also been treated and would continue to receive annual boosters throughout 2010. All mares that are 11 years of age would be added to the treatment program each year. Fertility control applications are scheduled to begin no earlier then July 10th, 2006, and may continue through September 30th, 2006.”

Update: 19 horses were captured and put up for adoption through a sealed bid process. FRER was able to adopt two of the yearling colts. Five bachelor stallions, including Cloud’s half brother, were unadopted. But through efforts by FRER and The Cloud Foundation, these 5 stallions have been adopted between the two groups and another individual in 2007.

Visit the Wild Horse Preservation Organization for more details.