Monday, September 17, 2012

Nevada Wages War
Against Wild Horses

by Carol Knight Watson
2nd Annual
Georgia Week for the Animals

October 20 - October 28, 2012

Thousands of dogs have done nothing wrong, have never
committed a crime; yet, they are sentenced to a punishment worse
 than death: life at the end of a chain or in a pen.
Dogs do so much for us.
 They do not deserve to spend their lives in prison.

Stop the Roundups
of Our Mustangs and Wild Burros!
     The Wild, Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act, passed in 1971, finally gave these enduring animals a chance for the freedom to live in their own way without constant threats to their lives by humans. The main provision and intent of the act is to protect the mustangs and wild burros who inhabit our public lands from any unauthorized capture, branding, harassment, or death. Under the authority of the act, the Bureau of Land Management and the U. S. Forest Service are to manage, protect, and control wild horses and burros, but they have operated in a manner that promotes mainly the interests of the livestock industry. Amendments to the act, in almost every case, have diminished the intent of the act. Almost from the time of enactment of the Wild, Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act, the very program created to protect them has been and still is manipulated for political considerations rather than managed on sound ecological policy. 
     If greed and prejudice could be set aside, we would find that truly there is no overpopulation of mustangs and wild burros on our public lands. A main objective in Amberwood Sanctuary’s stated Purpose is:
     “Promote decisive actions on behalf of the wild burros and mustangs living on our public lands under the protection they have been afforded through the 1971 Wild, Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act: 
a. Require improved accountability methods by the Bureau of Land Management and U. S. Forest Service officials in their management of the Wild Horse and Burro Program to ensure adherence to the main provision and intent of the Act; 
b. Encourage increased public review of the program’s management;
c. Promote legislative action to rescind politically-induced amendments that jeopardize the intent of the Act;
d. Encourage the introduction and passage of legislation that would increase the level of protection given to wild burros/mustangs and allow them to remain free on public lands in greater numbers.”
     Join us, and many other organizations, in our quest to allow the American mustangs and wild burros their freedom on our public lands.
~                        ~                        ~                        ~
In Memoriam: Betsy Hutchins
(August 4, 1941 - July 2, 2012)
Co-founder of the American Donkey and Mule Society
Betsy was always willing to share her knowledge of
donkeys. In learning how to care for Amber, we would
call Betsy, and she gave us just the information we needed.
~                        ~                        ~                        ~

Daybreak at Amberwood Sanctuary: “Hey, Mama, where’s our hay? 
      Late-breaking news from the Equine Welfare Alliance (EWA) indicates events in Nevada parallel the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) wild horse and burro roundups. An e-mail from EWA states, “From what I can gather, NDOA (Nevada Department of Agriculture) is he** bent on removing as many Virginia Range horses as they can under the guise that they have become a nuisance to the locals (just as BLM is doing under the guise of emergency removals). The horses are going to ‘sale authority’ and we all know what that means.”
     Three links in this e-mail further detail continuing incidences of killing our wild horses and burros:
Charges Filed Against
 Wild Horse Foundation
from and KRNV (Reno, Nevada), September 14, 2012:
     VIRGINIA CITY, NV —  A local wild horse preservation foundation is facing three misdemeanor charges filed with the Storey County District Attorney’s office this week. The criminal complaint lists the Let ‘Em Run Foundation with failure to brand or mark animals grazing on open range, abandoning an animal, and causing or allowing an animal to be unjustifiably injured and/or to be deprived of necessary food or drink—all misdemeanor offenses.
     According to a report done by the Nevada Department of Agriculture, eight horses were adopted by the foundation in Carson City in December 2011. Those horses were transported to property owned by Lance Gilman in Storey County where they were let out on what was supposed to be properly fenced-in private land. Ed Foster, spokesperson with the Nevada Department of Agriculture, says the horses should have been branded by the new owner and were not. He also says one of the horses got out and they found him near McCarren and Clear Water Way in Reno.
     Lacy J. Dalton runs the Let ‘Em Run Foundation. She was not available and did not return our phone calls prior to the airing of this story. Willis Lamm and Shirley Allen are also listed as defendants. They were in Carson City today during a demonstration against the capturing and selling of Virginia Range wild horses. They say this complaint is unjustified.
Horse Advocates Protest
from the Nevada Appeal (Carson City, Nevada), September 15, 2012:
by Wheeler Cowperthwaite
     Two dozen protesters held signs on both sides of Carson Street in front of the legislative building on Friday to bring attention to the trapping and potential sale of wild horses. The advocates held signs that said horses should not be sold for slaughter and do not belong “in frying pans.”
     About 20 horses have been trapped so far on private and state land, known as the Virginia Range, a 284,000-acre area that stretches from the Carson River to the Truckee River.
     The Nevada Department of Agriculture declared the horses a nuisance, and they will go up for auction on September 19. They’re being held at the Stewart Conservation Camp’s horse area.
     If the horses had been on U.S. Bureau of Land Management land, they would be under the jurisdiction of the federal government. Because they are on state and private land, they are considered to be feral or estray, which means they’re under the jurisdiction of the Nevada Department of Agriculture. By law, the department can send the horses to the livestock sale in Fallon after advertising them in the county they were captured in, said Ed Foster, acting public information officer for the Nevada Department of Agriculture.
     In 2011, horses started coming down from the hills in September. That same behavior started in April of this year, Mr. Foster said. The traps have been set because landowners have complained that the horses are becoming nuisances.   
     According to the department, during the past 45 days, the Nevada Department of Agriculture has experienced an unprecedented increase in the number of complaints regarding the Virginia Range estray horses. The majority of the complaints involve private property damage and horses in roadways. 
     The latest Virginia Range estray horse interaction with an automobile happened on August 21. A mare and foal were crossing U.S. Highway 95, six miles south of Fernley at 10 p.m. A pickup hit both horses. The driver was not seriously injured, although both horses died.
     Motorists traveling on Highways 50, 95, and 395 should use caution driving, especially at night. 
     Kathy Barlaskey, who lives in Hidden Valley, held a sign on the sidewalk in front of the legislative building. She said she used to be able to see horses from her kitchen window but hasn’t recently. “I’m here so we can talk them into not slaughtering horses,” she said.
     Terri Farley came out to protest because she said she thinks letting the horses go to the livestock sale would mean they may be bought for slaughter and that would lead to a downturn in tourism. “I don’t think we should be feeding people in Belgium,” she said. “Some immigrant groups eat horse but that isn’t who we (Americans) are.” 
NDOA Attempts to Muzzle Advocates
from the Alliance of Wild Horse Advocates, September 7, 2012:
Issue: “Trap and toss” horse management 
Lies and possible illegal activities surrounding
 the Nevada Department of Agriculture’s plan to dump
 Virginia Range horses at the livestock sale
     The Nevada Department of Agriculture has embarked on a new strategy aimed at suppressing criticism of its Virginia Range horse activities, claiming that the advocates are abandoning horses.
     A complaint was leaked to KRNV Channel 4 just prior to the Alliance of Wild Horse Advocates’ September 14 demonstration in Carson City. The charges are that Lacy J. Dalton, Shirley Allen, and Willis Lamm dumped eight horses on the Virginia Range.
     The issue appears to involve a band of eight horses who were purchased at a state sale by the Let ‘Em Run Foundation and were turned out with the permission of the landowner on over 100,000 acres of private range. The allegations reportedly involve failure to provide food and water, abandonment, and a brand violation. One of the horses, a pinto known as Dickie, recently turned up in South Reno.

     Since none of the three individuals have actually received a summons, they were advised not to comment until attorneys got to the bottom of this situation.
     One person who would comment was Mike Holmes, a former Nevada Department of Agriculture employee who managed the Virginia Range herd for 9½ years. His position was eliminated due to the state’s budget crisis, and there has been nobody assigned to the position full time since then.
     When asked about the food and water issue, Mr. Holmes replied, “You’re kidding me, right? That property is over a hundred thousand acres out there. The department used to turn out horses out there. You think we would do that if there was no food or water?”
     Regarding the branding issue, he explained that the department provides individual animal identification before any horses are sold, and that identification is supposed to be recorded in the name of the purchaser. People don’t typically register brands for a handful of horses, so the horses are provided with NAIS-compliant RFID (radio frequency identification) chips, also known as microchips. (NAIS: National Animal Identification System)
     One of the defendants, Willis Lamm, chairs a town committee tasked with looking into the Virginia Range horse situation. Speculation is that these charges may have been an effort to dilute the impact of any committee report, as well as to provide a distraction from the horse advocates’ September 14th demonstration.
     Meanwhile, South Reno residents report trailer loads of horses being removed by the department from the surrounding areas.
What You Can Do!
     Here are actions that you can take to protect the Virginia Range horses. Please remember that these horses fall under the jurisdiction of the Nevada Department of Agriculture and Governor Brian Sandoval. Below is contact information. You are encouraged to express your opinion in this matter. If you call, try to speak with someone in authority. Let’s fix this business before more horses go to the kill buyers, and we experience another tourism boycott!

Governor Brian Sandoval
775.684.5670 (Carson City office)
702.486.2500 (Las Vegas office)
Agriculture Director Jim Barbee
     The Virginia Range horses are not protected by any federal statute. The involved wild horse groups are just about all that stands between them and the kill buyers. Funds are always needed to protect these horses and to find homes and sanctuary opportunities for those who have been taken off the range.
     Every contribution counts. The groups are all staffed by volunteers so the money donated actually goes to pay the expenses for these horses. Please help! ~Alliance of Wild Horse Advocates~
An Aside Regarding Willis Lamm
 (a defendant in the Nevada case: see above)
from Willis Lamm (a 9th generation great-grandson of John Alden)
~Tyranny: Absolute power, especially when exercised unjustly or cruelly.
~Confronting tyranny does not come without personal risk.
~Tyrants do not usually consider themselves as such as they are often absorbed in their own agendas.
~If our Founding Fathers had not confronted tyranny at great personal risk, Americans would still be under a king. However, they did confront tyranny and produced the greatest democracy on the planet.
~                        ~                        ~                        ~
...and here at Amberwood Sanctuary —
    After a lengthy delay in the renovation of our “old” barn in our holding area, we are back on course and have made a lot of progress, as you can see. Our most sincere thanks to Coy Baird for the wonderful job he, his sons Adam and Timothy, and nephew Josh are doing in finishing the work on our much-needed and historic barn.   

August 2011
August 2012

   Here is Danny, our newest family member. 
He is a really sweet boylikes a lot of attention.

     When shopping or searching online, please be sure to click on GoodSearch or iGive for Amberwood Sanctuary. It doesn’t cost you a thing and the extra money helps feed and care for our donkeys. Recently, we received checks from both groups ($22.32 from GoodSearch and $10.09 from iGive.) That’s not a lot but, hey, it will buy five bales of hay. Now, that’s dinner on the table!
     Your financial help, as well as your volunteer help with our programs, all to help the donkeys, is so necessary to keep things moving along, if only at a crawl.
     Talk to you next time. . .

Remembering Jake and Harry

                   JAKE                                              HARRY