RTF Files Suit to Stop Unrestricted Sale of Devils Garden Wild Horses
Written by CRM
Saturday, 27 October 2018 17:34

102718 rtf1

Return to Freedom on Thursday joined other advocates in filing a lawsuit to halt the U.S. Forest Service’s plan to sell hundreds of California wild horses without restriction, placing them in jeopardy of being sent to slaughter.

We’re proud to join the Humane Society of the United States, Front Range Equine Rescue, Marin Humane, the Humane Society of the Sierra Foothills, and two California humane law enforcement officers, Cindy Machado and Rosemary Frieborn, as plaintiffs in the suit filed in U.S. District Court.


Together, we’re arguing that the Forest Service’s recently announced plan to sell about 300 older wild horses without restrictions violates federal laws, as well as the agency’s own planning directives and management documents, and ignores the purpose and spirit of the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burro Act.

Click here to read the complaint.

The Forest Service is attempting to rid itself of the more than a fourth of the wild horses in California’s last large herd. The agency is conducting a helicopter roundup of 1,000 horses at the Devils Garden Plateau Wild Horse Territory at Modoc National Forest near Alturas, Calif. 

Wild horses ages 10 and over are being placed in unsheltered corrals at Modoc National Forest.  The agency says that it will first sell the older horses with some limitations that include prohibiting the purchase of wild horses for human consumption as well as providing adequate transportation and adequate accommodations.  

After that 60-day period, however, the Forest Service plans to sell remaining wild horses -- without restrictions -- for as little as $1 apiece, starting as early as Jan. 10.

Captured wild horses estimated to be ages 9 and under are being transported to Bureau of Land Management corrals in Susanville, Calif., where they will be offered for adoption. Forest Service officials have said that arrangements have been made for BLM to keep captured wild horses there for one year, but no longer, possibly placing them in jeopardy of eventually being sold to slaughter without restrictions where they will easily end up in the slaughter pipeline as well.

102718 rtf2Studs captured during a 2016 helicopter roundup at Devils Garden Wild Horse Territory were held for an extended period in a dangerously crowded temporary holding pen before pressure from RTF resulted in the U.S. Forest Service providing more space for the horses. RTF file photo by Steve Paige.

In addition to our participation in the lawsuit, RTF continues to meet with lawmakers in Washington, D.C., including California Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris, about the planned sale.

Should the Forest Service go forward with its disastrous plan for unrestricted sale, we’ve been preparing to help as many wild horses as possible.

RTF is working with supporters who can provide homes for the older wild horses that will be put up for sale as well as those interested in adopting those 9-younger. RTF is helping to coordinate transportation with our fellow nonprofit Fleet of Angels and volunteers on-site to assist our supporters with purchasing and adopting horses.

Take Action

Please click here if you can provide a good home to two or more wild horses, especially those ages 10-older, offer transportation for rescued horses, or would like to donate to support the rescue effort.

Please click here to send a message to U.S. Service Officials opposing the unrestricted sale of wild horses.

* Please click here to send a letter to your members of Congress urging them to oppose the Bureau of Land Management sale policy, which allows any buyer to purchase up to 24 wild horses with no waiting period, no oversight and no questions asked.

* Please keep calling U. S. Senators on the Conference Committee and urge them to continue standing up for wild horses and burros and opposing slaughter. Click here for suggested talking points and a list of phone numbers.

Press release provided by Return to Freedom.