Contested Nevada Mustang Gather Begins

Contested Nevada Mustang Gather Begins

The Triple B mustang gather got under way July 20 after being postponed twice due to a lawsuit filed against the BLM.

Photo: Bureau of Land Management

The contested Triple B mustang gather in Nevada got under way Wednesday (July 20) after a 9th Circuit Court of Appeals judicial panel declined to grant a group of wild horse advocates' injunction to stop it.

The Bureau of Land Management (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, in Nevada on July 7.

The gather was postponed after the a Colorado-based wild horse advocacy group, The Cloud Foundation, along with ecologist Craig Downer and Lorna Moffat, filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court in Nevada claiming 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.

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 in the case) 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 could review the appeal.

On July 19 Paez, 9th District Circuit Court Judge Kim McLane Wardlaw, and Chief Judge Alex Kozinski declined to grant the emergency injunction to block the gather on grounds that the plaintiffs failed to show the absence of the injunction would cause irreparable harm, or that the injunction was in the public interest. The ruling allows the BLM to proceed, beginning with the Triple B gather, while the court hears the plaintiff's appeal.

Fazio was unavailable for comment.

The BLM's Acting Nevada State Director Any Lueders said the decision benefits the animals: "The wild horse population is five times over the ... appropriate management level, and the excess wild horses must be removed to maintain healthy rangelands and ensure there will be adequate water and forage for the remaining wild horses, wildlife, and permitted livestock."

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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