Contested Mustang Gather Postponed Again

Contested Mustang Gather Postponed Again

A contested BLM mustang gather was postponed again July 15 when a Nevada judge issued a temporary injunction preventing the gather until the court can review the appeal. The injunction is a result of a June lawsuit filed against the BLM.

Photo: Bureau of Land Management

Shortly after one judge declined to prevent the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) from gathering animals from their Nevada ranges, another judge put the July 16 roundup on hold.

On July 7 the BLM was to begin gathering approximately 1,726 animals collectively from the Triple B, Maverick-Medicine, and Antelope Valley Herd Management Areas (HMAs) and the Cherry Springs Wild Horse Territory, all in Nevada. The agency said the gather is necessary to reduce herd populations so forage and water resources are sufficient to sustain the animals residing there.

On June 29 the Cloud Foundation, a Colorado-based wild horse advocacy group, along with ecologist Craig Downer and Lorna Moffat, filed a complaint claiming that the BLM failed to demonstrate that the animals threaten the thriving natural ecological balance of the ranges or that the mustangs are responsible for range areas that might exhibit some use-related impact. The complaint asked the court to halt the gather until or unless the BLM fully complies with National Environmental Policy requirements to consider all reasonable alternatives to removing the animals to reduce use impact on the ranges.

The BLM postponed the roundup until July 16, after a scheduled hearing, which took place July 14.

On July 15, U.S. District Court Judge Howard McKibben declined to prevent the gather. Immediately after McKibben ruled on the roundup, Attorney Rachel Fazio (who represents the plaintiffs) appealed McKibben's ruling. That same day, Judge Richard Paez of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued a temporary injunction preventing the gather until the court can review the appeal.

No one from the BLM was available to comment on the developments in the case.

Fazio hopes the injunction will remain in place while the court ponders her clients' case.

"We are pleased that the 9th Circuit has seen fit to stop the roundup while they take a look at the merits of our motion," Fazio 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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