Sequestration Figures into BLM Adoption Center Cuts

Sequestration Figures into BLM Adoption Center Cuts

Photo: Bureau of Land Management

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is crediting federal budget sequestration as one factor in its decision to reduce hours at the agency’s Palomino Valley National Wild Horse and Burro Adoption Center (PVC) near Reno, Nev.

Sequestration is a legal mechanism created by federal law to establish a hard spending cap for the U.S. government. If Congress enacts funding legislation that exceeds that limit, sequestration allows for program cuts across all government agencies. Most recently those spending cuts became effective on March 1.

BLM spokeswoman Heather Emmons-Jasinski said that the PVC is the largest BLM adoption facility in the country and also serves as the BLM’s primary adoption preparation center for mustangs and burros gathered from public ranges in Nevada and other states nearby. Previously the center has been open to the public Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., and on Saturdays, 8 a.m. to noon. Beginning April 6, the center will only be open to the public on the first Saturday of every month from 8 a.m. to noon. The facility will remain open to the public during weekdays, Emmons-Jasinski said.

Emmons-Jasinski said that along with the budget sequestration and other economic factor, a low mustang and burro adoption rate also contributed to the decision to reduce the center’s weekend hours. About 3,000 wild horses and burro adoptions currently take place annually, Emmons said. By contrast, 7,700 adoptions took place in 2003. Meanwhile, 10 animals were adopted onsite at the PVC since Oct. 1, 2012, and very few of those adoptions took place on Saturday, Emmons-Jasinski said.

“The decision to close PVC three out of four Saturdays per month was based on budget cuts, low adoption rates, low visitation, and limited staff,” Emmons-Jasinski said.

Emmons-Jasinski said that several other factors contributed to the BLM’s decision not to cut the PVC’s weekday hours.

“The rest of the federal government generally conducts business Monday through Friday, and the feeding, care, veterinary work and maintenance of the facility occurs every day during the week and these responsibilities incur less cost to the government during the weekdays,” Emmons-Jasinski said.

Anne Novak, executive director of Protect Mustangs, a wild horse and burro advocacy group said that whatever the economic factors, limiting the center’s weekend hours will have a negative effect on wild horse adoptions.

“The weekend closures may prevent prospective adopters from going (to PVC) to fall in love with a wild horse,” Novak said. “If all the BLM adoption centers around the country are open every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. adoptions will increase.”

Emmons-Jasinski said that mustang adoptions at the PVC remain available Monday through Friday and by appointment on the first Saturday of each month.

“If an adopter has a critical need to pick up an animal on a closed Saturday, the BLM will make every effort to accommodate that request,” she said.

About the Author

Pat Raia

Pat Raia is a veteran journalist who enjoys covering equine welfare, industry, and news. In her spare time, she enjoys riding her Tennessee Walking Horse, Sonny.

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