Horse Spirit, Ltd. presents...
"as it happens"
"CHILDREN Almost Moved Mountains"
-Nevada AB 219 to make wild horse/mustang
Nevada's 2nd state
and 5-21-2001 and 6-3-2001. AB219
Evolution of modern horse -Equus Caballus
-North American native species.
Northern Nevada Virginia Range Dec
1998 Christmas wild horse
killings and TRIAL. 4-7-2001
CHARGES REINSTATED. 4-13-2001.
TRIAL DATE SET. 12-22-2001.
lesser charges. SENTENCING 2-11-2002.
WAS JUSTICE SERVED FOR THE SLAUGHTERED WILD HORSES? CLICK HERE!
1-11-2001- BLM wild horse
Oct 2000 -government wild horse massacre-Update 2-27-2001
Utah BLM wild horses going
to slaughter after adopted-1-2-2001
Southeastern Nevada 3-24-2001 and
Southwestern Utah 4-20-2001
BLM wild horse
shootings. More shootings 4-16-2003.
Southeastern Nevada and Southwestern Utah Wild Horse
only 30 miles apart - were they killed by the same perpetrators?
Another wild horse shooting 4-16-2003.
$14,000 reward offered in Nevada wild
from: Ely Daily Times, RENO, NV. (Historically, any
rewards have been safe as BLM
has repeatedly failed in any arrests &
NEVADA APPEAL by Staff and wire reports
MORE HORSES SHOT ON PUBLIC LAND...Southwestern Utah near the southeastern Nevada shootings that left an
Pioche - Four more wild horses
were discovered shot last weekend on public lands in Lincoln County. A Bureau of Land Management Utah employee discovered the
horses while on a weekend excursion.
The horses were found off a county road in the Wilson Creek Herd
Management Area, eight miles from the Atlanta Junction at the south end of
the Limestone Hills. The Utah
employee reported that three of the horses were dead and one was wounded.
The incident occurred approximately 30 miles east of the Pony
Springs area, where seven wild horses were found shot dead in late March.
The newly discovered horses are near the Utah/Nevada border, near
where four stallions were found shot dead in Utah earlier this month.
The National Mustang Association, the Friends of Red Rock and the
Nevada Commission for the Preservation of Wild Horses have joined with BLM
in offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to the identify of
those responsible for the shooting of these wild horses.
BLM law enforcement officers are investigating the latest shooting.
Individuals with information on these wild horse shootings are
asked to contact BLM law enforcement at either 1-800-521-6501, toll free,
or (775) 289-1820. Callers
may remain anonymous.
Colt recovers following wild-horse massacre near Pony Springs
April 4, 2001-Reno Gazette Journal- Associated Press.
CEDAR CITY, Utah
---A newborn colt that was the only known survivor
of a band of wild horses massacred in southern Nevada last month is back on
his feet. The foal, who has
been named Patrick, likely escaped the gunfire that killed six other
mustangs because he was too weak to keep up as the horses tried to flee,
said David and Annette Hirschi-Boden. The
bodies were found near Pony Springs, not far from Panaca near the Utah
border about 100 miles northeast of Las Vegas. It was believed the horses were shot the weekend of March 17
(2001). The bodies were found by a rancher.
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and National Mustang Association
are offering a combined reward of $3000 for information leading to the
arrest and conviction of the shooters.
The colt was found barely alive near its dead mother and was first
cared for by a Nevada family and veterinarian.
(See original article
RENO, Nevada- Six wild horses were
shot to death and a week-old foal was left orphaned last week on a remote
stretch of federal land in the southeast Nevada desert, federal
investigators said Friday. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM)
posted a $2000 reward for information leading to the person or persons
responsible for the illegal killing of the horses in Lincoln County.
The six horses found on BLM
land about 8 miles west of U.S. Hwy 93 apparently were shot last weekend,
BLM spokeswoman Maxine Shane said. Investigators have no suspects at
the current time and are urging the public to come forward with any
information about people in the area last weekend, she said. The
bodies were found near Pony Springs, not far from Panaca near the Utah
border about 100 miles northeast of Las Vegas. The foal was found
alive next to its dead mother, Shane said. A rancher found the dead
horses and notified the BLM's field office in Ely, Shane said. The
body of a 7th horse also was discovered at the scene, but it was badly
decomposed and not related to the shootings, she said.
The BLM also is continuing to
investigate the shooting of 37 wild horses in southwest Wyoming in
December and January but the cases are not believed to be related.
BLM law enforcement will turn over any evidence to the Justice Department
for possible prosecution, Shane said. The BLM typically investigates
about one case a year of wild horse shootings in Nevada, she said.
Killing a wild horse is a violation of the federal Wild Free Roaming Horse
and Burro Act, punishable by up to a $2000 fine and a year in prison, or
both, for each count. (See 4-4-2001 Update
CAN HELP -Anyone with information about the shootings contact BLM's
Ely office at 775-289-1800. If you are unable to contact BLM
thru this number, call us, Wild Horse Spirit, at 775-883-5488 and we will
help you get to the proper authorities. It is not only BLM's duty to protect
and preserve America's
free roaming wild horses, but investigations must be given the highest
priority over all other issues by BLM and be pursued by the highest
professional experts available to bring perpetrators to justice for all
Almost Moved Nevada Mountains"
NV AB 219 The "wild horse known as the mustang"
fights its way to become Nevada's
2nd official state animal,
along side the desert bighorn sheep, during the 2001
Nevada Legislative Session.
Lands Ranching rebels attack Wild Horses and the Children’s Bill, AB
219, with Senator Dean Rhoads' amendment No. 1001. Rhoads is long
time public lands rancher permittee and sometimes known as “the father
of the sagebrush rebellion”. In 1971 Senator Raggio fought a
bitter battle against now Nevada Supreme Court Justice Cliff Young who
favored the native wild horse/mustang as Nevada's first state animal, but
Raggio won out making the non-native desert bighorn sheep Nevada's first
- NEVADA LEGISLATIVE “SESSION REPORT”, NV Appeal, Carson City.
Bill Goes Through Paces – 6-3-2001
-The return of the bill (AB 219) seeking to make the mustang Nevada’s (2nd)
state animal occasioned more than a little horsing around in the Senate on
Saturday (6-2-2001). The bill
was amended (No. 1001) by Senate Dean Rhoads, R-Tuscarora, turning it into a
resolution asking the federal government to do a better job of managing wild
horses in Nevada but the Assembly refused to concur. When the bill returned, Senate Ann O’Connell’s’
Government Affairs Committee agreed to the (original) Assembly version. She
said five members of that committee have students from the school (Aggie
Roberts elementary), which proposed the bill as a class project in their
Senate Bill Raggio,
R-Reno, said one state animal, the bighorn sheep, is enough and that, if
more are added, “pretty soon we’ll have a state zoo.”
Senate Joe Neal, D-North Las Vegas, said he supports the original
version making the mustang Nevada’s second state animal along with the
bighorn sheep. “I have a
difficult time relating to a bighorn sheep as a state animal although those
here who are a little bit hard-headed can,” he said.
“I can relate to the mustang,” he also said.
A few minutes later, Raggio said he had figured out why Neal can
relate better to the mustang. Reading
from the description of the mustang enclosed with the legislation, he said, “It
identifies the mustang as hard to control, difficult to train and runs
loose.” (Actually, Senator Raggio-R's
description is typical of himself and the others, including Senator
Rhoads-R, who turned against America's mustang/wild horse as Nevada's 2nd
In the end, Rhoads won out and the Senate refused to convert
Assembly bill 219 back into a bill designating the mustang Nevada’s second
state animal. You might say the
“neighs” had it. But Senate
Bill O’Donnell, R-Las Vegas, served notice the battle would continue in
the conference committee.
Children Want Mustang Honored...
Students Crusade for new (Nevada) state animal.
Nevada Appeal, Carson City, Nevada –by Staff reports: The big horn sheep may get
company as Nevada’s official state animal.
A group of about 100 4th Graders from Henderson (NV) is
pushing for the addition of the mustang to Nevada’s law designating as
official beast. Members of
the Assembly Government Affairs Committee head some of the Aggie Roberts
Elementary School students testify on Tuesday morning.
Under the bill introduced by Barbara Buckley, D-Las Vegas, and
backed by a majority of legislators in both the Assembly and the Senate,
the big horn sheep would have to scoot over and make room for its equine
equivalent. Aggie Roberts
Elementary School teacher, Penny Bichsel, escorted her students north to
Carson City to testify before the Legislature.
Half-dozen students, including 9-year-old Jordan Dowell (photo not
shown), testified before the committee. The students approached Buckley
after deciding the mustang would make a good symbol for the state.
They gathered 1000 signatures in Las Vegas and brought them to the
Legislature where about 30 of them attended the first hearing.
Photo caption: Aggie Roberts Elementary School teacher,
Penny Bichsel listens to her student Jordan Dowell, 9, testify before the
Assembly Governmental Affairs Committee on Tuesday. The students
approached Assemblywoman Barbara Buckley, D-Las Vegas, to create
legislation that would designate the mustang as an official state animal.
3-22-2001PM –Wild Horse Spirit was there
for the hearing in Carson City. It was
indeed a wonderful sight to see and hear the testimony from these wise
children who were the initiators of Nevada AB 219. The children’s
journey reportedly began over two years previously after the senseless and inhumane shootings
and slaughter of wild horses near Las Vegas, Nevada, where they live. The only opponent to AB 219, who identified himself from the American
Independent Party, essentially testified that anyone who supported such
legislation were “cultists”. However,
a member of the committee assured him that none of these children were
member of the committee quoted from submitted written testimony (see
below- PS: evolution) that rebuttal the opponent’s
testimony that the wild horse was exotic and non-native species to
North America. When testimony
was completed, the committee unanimously passed AB 219 which drew a
tremendous applause from the public in committee room.
It now proceeds to the Assembly floor for vote.
If passed it proceeds to
the Senate committee; then to Senate
floor for vote. If passed
there, AB 219 becomes Nevada law. A law that is long-over due.
It took our children in an adult world
to make this happen.
A tremendous "THANK YOU" to
the Aggie Roberts students, their teacher, Ms. Bichsel, Assemblywoman
Barbara Buckley and all the other sponsors. Children have previously
moved mountains. America's children were instrumental in the passage
of the federal 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act originated by
Nevada's Wild Horse Annie (Velma B. Johnston) that finally
protected wild horses and burros on public lands from horrendous inhumane
acts against them and recognized them as "Living Legends of the West".
219 passed the Senate Committee Governmental Affairs on 5-21-2001 and is on
its way to the Nevada Senate floor for vote. If passed by the
Senate, it goes to the Governor of signature and into law.
Way to go kids!!
See below as to what happened!
(EVOLUTION of the modern horse, Equus caballus)
groups” consider the bighorn sheep and the American bison
“native” to North America. However, both species actually
evolved in Asia and came into North America via the Bering Strait
land bridge. The horse, Equus caballus, conversely, evolved
exclusively in North America and crossed the Bering Strait land
bridge into Siberia, traveling in the other direction!
Equus caballus fully evolved on the North America
continent before they supposedly became extinct about 8,000 to
So the (wild)
horse, Equus caballus, is truly a native species to North
America contrary to the myth that they are an exotic, non-native
Nevada AB 219 to AMEND Section
1. NRS 235.070 to
include "wildhorses/mustangs" as Nevada state animal:
AB (Assembly Bill) 219 AS originally WRITTEN prior to amendment No. 1001 by NV Senator Dean Rhoads, R-Tuscarora that
would have made AB 219 a private vested interest of public lands ranching
industry (SEE BELOW):
Assembly Bill No. 219–Assemblymen Buckley,
Cegavske, Anderson, Arberry, Bache, Beers, Berman, Brown, Carpenter,
Chowning, Claborn, Collins, de Braga, Dini, Gibbons, Giunchigliani,
Goldwater, Gustavson, Hettrick, Humke, Koivisto, Lee, Leslie, Manendo,
Marvel, McClain, Mortenson, Nolan, Oceguera, Parks, Parnell, Perkins,
Price, Smith, Tiffany, Von Tobel and Williams
February 22, 2001
Joint Sponsors: Senators
Titus, O’Donnell, Neal, Wiener, Carlton, Amodei, Care, Coffin, James,
Schneider, Shaffer, Townsend and Washington
(However, the senator's names
in bold later turned against America's wild horses and voted
against this bill.)
Referred to Committee on Government Affairs
mustang as official state animal. (BDR 19‑1119)
ACT relating to state emblems; designating the mustang as an official
state animal; and providing other matters properly relating thereto.
THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEVADA, REPRESENTED IN
SENATE AND ASSEMBLY, DO
ENACT AS FOLLOWS:
1-1 Section 1. NRS
235.070 is hereby amended to read as follows: (blue
notes the new language of the law and
the old language) (blue
notes the new language of the law and
the old language)
nelsoni) [is] and
the wild horse known as the mustang (Equus
The animal known as the desert bighorn sheep (Ovis
hereby designated as the official state
1-5 the State of
Assembly Floor on 3-26-2001
is on its way to the Senate committee. See
votes below. Nevada Assembly Committee on Governmental Affairs
passed AB219 with 39 "for", 2 "against" and 1
"excused" with no absences at time of vote. Sharron
Angle, R-Washoe County, District 29, and John W. Marvel
(a cosponsors), R-Battle Mountain, District Humbolt, Pershing, Elko
(Part), Eureka (Part), Lander (Part), No. 34 voted
against AB219 and Vivian L. Freeman, D-Washoe County,
District 24 was "excused".
passed the Nevada Senate Committee Governmental Affairs with a vote of 6 for and 1 against. Senator Bill Raggio,
R-Washoe County, District No.3, was the only committed member to vote
against AB219 and is on its way for a vote by the Nevada Senate floor.
Amendment No. 1001 to AB 219 by Senator Dean Rhoads, R-Tuscarora,
drastically and negatively alters original bill to a private vested interests
public lands ranching bill with no language referring to making the wild
horse/mustang Nevada's 2nd state animal. Go to
Final Update on AB 219
Barbara Buckley, D-Las Vegas, creator of AB 219 that simply would have made the
wild horse/mustang Nevada’s 2nd state animal, with no strings
attached, withdrew AB 219 entirely because of the “hard-headed”, quote by NV
Senator Joe Neal, D-Las Vegas, legislative wild horse opponents who
would not even consider making the wild horse/mustang as a State Horse as a
Wild Horse Spirit agreed with her move as amendment No. 1001
introduced by NV Senator Dean Rhoads, public lands rancher and sometimes known
as the “father of the sagebrush rebellion”, would have been only more
legislation for private vested interest of the public lands ranching
industry at taxpayers expense. We understand, these
children will continue their fight and try for Nevada’s next legislative
session in 2003. Children, never give up for a cause that you know is
correct and morally right!!
Governmental Brumby Slaughter - happened October 2000
SENT: Saturday, 2-17-2001
Can Help! ) See below -Australian
government under pressure from overseas emails.
See below how the name
"brumbies" originated for Australia's wild horses.
Slaughter... Animal welfare's worst nightmare
Introduction: My name is Lyall Sempf. I study brumbies
(Australian wild horses) and their habits. I am writing a book on my
findings and those findings of other people I have contacted. I have
studied brumbies for many years. The brumby is Australia's wild
horse. I have been studying brumbies in the Guy Fawkes River
National Park, New South Wales, Australia, from time to time. In
late October of last year hundreds of brumbies were slaughtered in the
park by the government department known as the New South Wales National
Parks and Wildlife Service (NSW NPWS). I am writing to ask for
your help. No money is required, just a small amount of your
time to protest to those responsible, two government ministers and
possibly the Australian Embassy in your country. I am sending emails
out to literally hundreds and hundreds of animal welfare groups and
contacts world wide. I thank God for the internet. I don't
belong to any animal welfare group. I have been so sickened by the
event of last October that I felt compelled to do the web and emails every
night for a couple of months.
Hundreds of brumbies were shot from the air over a few days by three
gunman in helicopters. Due to the nature of the terrain being rough
and covered with trees, this slaughter of the brumbies resulted in more
than one bullet being needed for many of the horses. One unfortunate
horse was found with eleven bullet holes in him. The day after the
slaughter had ceased, an acquaintance of mine found horses still alive and
dying an agonizing and painful death. This acquaintance of mine also
told me that he found bullet holes in the brumbies in every possible part
of the body - the head, neck, withers, shoulder, chest, back, stomach,
rump and legs. When I was in the park a few weeks ago I found a stallion
with a bad lameness in his front left leg. I was unable to
get close enough though to see whether it was a natural wound or a bullet
wound. I will have to go back again and find him. I spoke with
one of the Park Rangers in January 1998 while in the National Park.
He is the one who was partly responsible for the organization of the
slaughter, and he was one of the three who fired the bullets.
I never advised him at the time why I was in the park.
The discussion of brumby culling was brought up when one of my friends
talked about the brumbies in the park. He told my friend and myself
that the National Parks and Wildlife Service were scared to shoot the
brombies due to fear of public opinion. This slaughter went ahead in
October secretly with no advice given to, or consultation sought from the
Australian public or Animal Welfare Groups. When the slaughter was
discovered, one of the claims of the NPWS was that the brumbies were
starving and dying from lack of food in the park due to bush fires that
has gone through the park. There were bush fires in the park, but
the brumbies were well and had shiny coats as can be verified by photos.
The slaughter was carried out quickly, in fact so quickly that a proper
check wasn't done to ensure that people weren't in the park during the
slaughter. The famous National Horse Trail goes through this park.
Two ladies from New South Wales rode their horses right into the slaughter
zone. They were quickly advised to leave the park and were told that
the rifleman were shooting feral goats and pigs. Estimated numbers
of remaining brumbies has been put at about 45. I have seen 10
alive, and signs of about another 10 in the area in which I searched a few
weeks ago. The well respected Royal Society for Prevention of
Cruelty to Animals (R.S.P.C.A.) has laid legal charges against the
National Parks and Wildlife Service. They have a good case, but as
they are fighting the government, it will be difficulty. If the
government does win the court case, it will be a hollow win in the eyes of
WHAT TO DO:
1. Contact the Australian R.S.P.C.A.
(see below) to
confirm what I am saying is true. Get the facts from them.
2. Let your protest be known to New South Wales
Government ministers, and the government department New South Wales
National Parks and Wildlife Service who were responsible for the
3. Let your feelings be known to the Australian
Embassy in your country.
LASTLY: If you would like any more information please
feel free to email me. I have the names of the three men who fired
the bullets. I also have access to photos taken after the slaughter.
To those of you who don't speak English and need a translator, I am sorry.
21 Range View Drive
Phone: your overseas access code + 61 7 5462 2337
Lyall stated that independent investigator, Dr. English,
employed by the National Parks Department (NPW), stated in his
"independent" report, "That the shooting was carried out in a
humane way, under approved protocols designed to kill horses as quickly as
possible". Lyall said his report was incorrect and biased in
favor of the NPW. Lyall added that Dr. English at a meeting a few
weeks ago mentioned that Australia is under international pressure, so all
emails from overseas must be having some effect. Dr. English's email
If anyone would care to drop him a line about their feelings to "down
protest Aussie Slaughter of brombies -
2. New South Wales Government:
a. The Honourable Richard Amery,
Minister for Agriculture,
Australia 2000 Fax: your overseas access code + 61 2 9372 0199
b. The Honourable Bob Debus
Minister for Environment
Level 19, Roden Cutler House
24 Campbell Street,
Sydney Australia 2000 Fax: your overseas access code +
61 2 9281 1115
3. NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service Centre: email: email@example.com
Phone: your overseas access code + 61 2 9251 8482
4. NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service, Dorrigo Office: Phone: your overseas access code
+ 61 2 6657 2309 (Dorrigo
Office is directly responsible for the National Park) (Dorrigo office
manages the GFRNP)
6. Also contact Dr. English, government
employee, at firstname.lastname@example.org
, Private Mailbag 3, 425 Werombi
Road, Camden NSW, Australia 2570,
who stated, "That the (unannounced) shooting was carried out in a
way, under approved (governmental) protocols designed to kill horses
as quickly as possible". Dr. English also
Australia is under international pressure from all the overseas emails.
7. The Australian Embassy, Ambassador Michael Thawley,
1601 Massachusetts Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036
CONTACT R.S.P.C.A to let them know your feelings to help them in a suit
against the perpetrators of this ignorant and irresponsible act of
Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, New South Wales
Phone: your overseas access
code + 61 2 9709 5433
Fax: your overseas access
code + 61 2 9796 2258
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James Brumby ( 1771 - 1838 ) was born in
England. He migrated to Australia. He was a pastoralist and soldier, and
owned land and horses at Mulgrave Place, Australia. According to
family tradition, around the early 1800's, he sailed to Tasmania.
He left horses which were unable to be mustered or disposed of.
These were known as Brumby's horses, and later as
brumbies. This name has stood the test of
Australian tradition and is the "official" name of Australia's
wild horse. (Return to Brombies)
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or continue to scroll)
January 11, 2001
Mustang Shootings Probed
THE SALT LAKE TRIBUNE
In what federal officials say is one of the worst
random killings of wild horses since they were protected by Congress 30
years ago, a reward of almost $13,000 has been offered to find out who
shot 34 mustangs in southwestern Wyoming recently.
Since Dec. 15, Bureau of Land Management officials in
Rock Springs (WY) have discovered 30 dead wild horses, while BLM rangers in
Rawlins (WY) have found another three north of Rawlins and a fourth near Baggs.
The most recent discovery was Monday, when officers found 16 dead horses
about 30 miles northeast of the town of Rock Springs, 180 miles east of
Salt Lake City. Investigators are unsure whether the shootings are
related but believe they occurred in the same time period.
"It appears all of the horses were shot, and one
horse was still alive when we found it Friday, but due to its injuries the
officers on hand had to put it down," said Mary Apple, Wyoming BLM
spokesperson in Rawlins. "We are asking for the public's help in
Several national and local humane groups have donated
money to a reward fund, which currently stands at $12,600. "We've been told that investigating these types of
cases can be very difficult unless someone steps forward, so we hope this
reward will help ensure that those responsible for these gruesome attacks
will be apprehended and brought to justice," said Andrea Lococo,
Rocky Mountain coordinator of the Fund For Animals. "Wild horses have
been the unfortunate victims of senseless cruelty for too long."
Anyone with information about the horse shootings is
asked to contact BLM law enforcement officers in Rock Springs or Rawlings.
Under the 1971 Wild Free Roaming Horse and Burro Act,
any person who maliciously causes the death or harassment of a mustang
shall be subject to a fine of up to $100,000 and/or a one-year prison term
per violation. Two previous cases of mustang shootings may be compared
in scale with the Wyoming killings now under investigation.
In September 1988, BLM officials reported 128 wild
horses had been gunned down near the central Nevada town of Austin in
Lander County. No one was prosecuted for those horse deaths.
During Christmas 1998, more than 30 wild horses were
shot near Virginia City, Nevada. The feral horses were managed by the state
of Nevada and did not fall under the protection of the federal wild horse
act. Two Marines stationed in Fallon and a Reno man were
arrested and charged, but a judge ruled that there was no case against the
three men except for a single horse-shooting to which each admitted. The trio are awaiting trial on gross misdemeanor
charges, although prosecutors asked the Nevada Supreme Court in October to
overturn the lower judge's decision and clear the way for 22 felony counts
to be filed against the men. The court has yet to rule. The two Marines received
"less-than-honorable" military discharges because of the
CHEYENNE (AP) -- The U.S. Bureau of Land Management is not giving up on
whoever is responsible for the shooting of 37 wild horses in southern Wyoming,
BLM spokeswoman said. Investigators
have no suspects and are still pursuing all leads, said spokeswoman
She declined to elaborate further on the multi-agency investigation
headed by the BLM
into the shooting deaths.
The shot horses were discovered beginning in early December near Rawlins
Springs. Most were discovered on the BLM Rock Springs grazing allotment.
"We're not losing hope that we're going to find the people who did
this," Wertz said.
The mass shooting is the worst ever in Wyoming. Six horses were shot to
Lander several years ago but the killers were never found. In Nevada,
three men face
charges following the 1998 shooting of more than 30 wild horses near
A $30,000 reward is being offered for information that leads to a
conviction in the shootings.
The reward is funded by the BLM, conservation groups and a ranching
About 42,000 wild horses roam the West, according to the BLM. About
6,200 of the
horses are in Wyoming, mostly in the southwestern area of the state.
horses are a federally protected species and the penalty for shooting
is up to a year imprisonment and $100,000 in fines.
The BLM has distributed fliers across Wyoming, Utah, Colorado, Montana
seeking help from the public on the deaths.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the BLM in Rock Springs at
or in Rawlins at (307) 328-4211. (Don't
hold your breath as BLM has never found wild horse killers before!!!)
Horse Spirit pledged $100 toward the arrest and conviction of the
(Return to TOP or continue to scroll)
Utah Wild Horses Still
Being Sent to Slaughter
Monday, January 1, 2001
BY CHRISTOPHER SMITH
THE SALT LAKE TRIBUNE
One of every 10 wild horses killed at three big U.S.
slaughterhouses in 1999 was adopted from Utah, newly released federal
Adopters of wild horses sign agreements that they do
not intend to use the horses for commercial purposes or sell them to a
slaughterhouse. But logs maintained by the meatpacking plants -- two in
Texas and one in Nebraska -- show nearly 300 federally protected mustangs
were processed into meat and pet food in 1999, the most recent year data
were available. Most of the wild horses slaughtered at the plants were
less than 6 years old and were killed within months of owners' receiving
title to them. Of the 300 mustangs slaughtered at the three plants, 35
carried "freeze-brand" markings indicating they were adopted
from Utah herds. The names of 33 Utah residents holding title to
slaughtered wild horses also are included in the partial records, released
by the Bureau of Land Management under the Freedom of Information Act to
animal-rights groups that have sued the federal agency twice over failure
to protect the horses as Congress intended.
The Fund for Animals and the Animal Protection
Institute of America have gone to federal court in Reno, Nev., charging
that the BLM is failing to prosecute people who adopt wild horses only to
sell them to slaughterhouses.
U.S. District Judge Howard McKibben has given
the BLM until Jan. 28 to document how many wild horses it adopted out have
been slaughtered since 1998 and how many of those cases have been
recommended for prosecution. Thousands of domesticated horses are butchered annually
at slaughterhouses. Fears of mad cow disease in Europe have fueled a rise
in price for exported U.S. horse meat overseas. But wild horse advocates have argued that Congress
never intended the "living legends of the West" to be sold to
slaughterhouses just months after adoption and wind up as the featured
entree at a Belgian cafe.
"If a horse is old, lame or infirm, the humane
thing to do is have a professional euthanize the animal and then the
remains go to a rendering plant," said Andrea Lococo,
Rocky Mountain coordinator for the Fund for Animals. "These wild
horses were given a special designation by Congress, and we don't believe
Congress ever intended them to be sent to slaughter."
Thus far in the legal battle, McKibben has agreed with
that interpretation of the law and has twice ordered the BLM to take steps
to prevent adopters from routinely selling horses for commercial purposes
shortly after taking title. "The problem is not nearly acute as it was a
number of years ago," McKibben said during a Nov. 29 court
hearing. However, he said, "it does appear to me that the BLM has
been somewhat reluctant in moving quickly."
An adopter who signs the standard adoption maintenance
agreement and the application for title and then sells the mustang to a
slaughterhouse could be prosecuted under the federal False Claims Act with
a class D felony punishable by up to 5 years in prison and a $250,000
fine. The so-called attestation language in the agreements
was part of a 1997 settlement of the second suit brought by wild horse
advocates against the BLM. At the time, McKibben ordered the BLM to change
all forms to include an attestation that "I
hereby state that I have no intent to sell this wild horse or burro for
slaughter or bucking stock, or for processing into commercial
During the Nov. 29 court hearing, U.S. Justice
Department attorneys representing the BLM said that all agency offices
have been using the new adoption and title forms with the attestation
language since April 1998. The agency checks the name of every potential
adopter with a database of past violations, such as adopted horses winding
up at slaughterhouses. "The adoption procedures . . . do well indicate
to the BLM through its database whether there are any offenders or whether
there are any problems with people who repeatedly adopt horses," said
Justice Department attorney Lyn Jacobs. "That is certainly
something that has been addressed by the BLM."
The slaughterhouse logs tell a different story. Some Utahans
whose wild horses wind up at slaughterhouses are regularly adopting more
horses. "I've adopted several of them," said Wade
Jensen of Cleveland in Emery County, who took title to a BLM wild
horse he adopted in January 1999. The horse was slaughtered eight months
later at Central Nebraska Packing in North Platte, Neb. "I've never sold one to a slaughterhouse. I
don't know where they go when I sell one," Jensen told The Salt
Lake Tribune. "When I adopt them they are my property to do with
what I please. I've never broken the law."
There is no indication that any Utah adopter has ever
been prosecuted for selling a wild horse that wound up butchered for meat
products. BLM officials have said they view the court-ordered
attestation language as a "gray area" of law.
"Adopters now sign an agreement that says it's
not their intent to sell the horse for slaughter, but it's not clear just
how long that signed agreement is intended to last," BLM Wild
Horse Program Director Tom Pagacnik told The Tribune in October 1999,
shortly after the agency announced that 575 mustangs wound up in
slaughterhouses in the first year after the tougher requirements.
Wild horse advocates, however, charge that the BLM is
ignoring the routine trafficking of adopted young, healthy mustangs being
sold at auction or sale yards and shipped to packing plants. "Adopters have to be pretty naive not to know
these animals are being purchased by buyers for slaughter," said
Lococo of the Fund for Animals. "These people sign a federal
agreement to provide humane care to these horses for the rest of their
lives, and they have the opportunity to return the animals back to the BLM
before they apply for title."
Slaughterhouse logs show most mustangs going to
slaughter were titled to adopters only weeks or months earlier. In two
cases of Utah adopters found in the logs, the horses were butchered a week
before the BLM titled the horses to the adopters. Five wild horses adopted
by Charles Riddle of Fairview in Sanpete County were slaughtered at
the same time, with three of the horses titled to Riddle just six months
earlier. Riddle could not be reached by The Tribune.
McKibben said he is most concerned by the BLM's
inability to prevent people from adopting more mustangs when the horses
they have previously adopted wound up at slaughterhouses. "It's one thing to say we didn't know what
their intent was originally," he said. "But if they
signed the document indicating that they wouldn't slaughter the horse, and
then they slaughtered the horse and you have that in your databank, and
notwithstanding that you went ahead and allowed them to take a horse
again, that would be extremely troubling."
McKibben said there is no proof of repeated abuses by
adopters before his court, and federal attorneys maintain that the
information they have been told to provide the judge in January also will
show no discrepancies.
"There's no evidence that there are continuing
problems with the wild horse program," said Jacobs.
But Lococo said the slaughterhouse logs directly
contradict such assertions. "There is no excuse for the BLM not to be
investigating the circumstances of why these horses are being carted off
to slaughter just weeks after adopters receive title," she said. "All
they need to do is prosecute a few of these people and that will
dramatically reduce this problem."
to TOP or continue to scroll)
December 27, 1998
12-28-98 "Hope" critically wounded,
Virginia Range wild horses Shot & Killed - 1998 Christmas Holidays
Story and Continued Update -March
UPDATE 4-7-2001 and 4-13-2001. Trial date
set for 1-7-2002. Then plea-bargaining to lesser charges with
sentencing 2-11-2002 by Judge Griffin. Final Chapter??
Supreme Court Panel reinstates 7 additional (horses) in the 1998
Christmas holiday killings of northern Nevada Wild Horses.
NEVADA SUPREME COURT PANEL
ORDER (4-5-2001 filed):
The last paragraph of the 10 page "ORDER" to Storey County
read as follows: "For the
reasons stated above, we affirm the district's court's ruling that the
State may not charge respondents in a single count with the killing of
multiple horses for purposes of establishing a felony violation of NRS
206.150. We reverse the district court's determination (Judge
Griffin) that the State failed to
establish probable cause that respondents violated NRS 206.150 with
respect to horses 9, 15, 16, 17, 19, 23 and 24. Because the justice
court (Justice of the Peace in Virginia
City NV) properly found probable cause
to believe respondents killed each of these horses, we concluded the
district court has discretion on remand to allow the State to amend the
information to charge respondents with gross misdemeanor violations of
NRS 206.150 in connection with the deaths of horses 9, 15, 16, 17, 19,
23 and 24. We affirm the district court's rulings in all other respects.
Accordingly, we ORDER the judgment of the district court AFFIRMED IN
PART, AND REMANDED for further proceedings consistent with this
Signed C.J. Maupin, J. Shearing and
J. Becker, NV Supreme Court justices.
April 7, 2001
–Nevada Appeal and Reno
COURT REVIVES WILD HORSE CHARGES–HIGH COURT
REINSTATES CHARGES IN HORSE DEATHS
City, NV –by Brendan Riley, Associated Press
Supreme Court says more wild horse killing can be filed against two
ex-Marines and a friend, despite defense lawyers’ claims of a weak,
fuzzy case against their clients. The
high court decided Friday to return the case to Carson District Judge Mike
Griffin, saying he could allow persecutors to file SEVEN more gross
misdemeanor charges against former Lance Cpls. Scott Brendle and Darien
Brock and their former Wooster High friend, Anthony Merlino.
That’s in addition to one gross misdemeanor count per defendant
that Griffin had allowed earlier. While
the Supreme Court allowed for more charges, it rejected claims by the
Storey County district attorney’s office that there was probable cause
for 22 counts against each defendant.
Prosecutors also argued there’s a legal basis for turning the
single gross-misdemeanor counts into felonies against Brendle, Brock and
Merlino. The three were
arrested after more than 30 wild horses were shot near this historic
mining town at Christmastime 1998. Most were found dead although several wounded horses had to
be destroyed by officers. The
shootings prompted international outrage, and led to less-than-honorable
military discharges for Brendle and Brock.
Lawyers for the defendants argued that Griffin found there was not
case against the three men except for a single horse shooting to which
each admitted, and that finding couldn’t be overturned without a showing
of substantial error. They
also contended Griffin’s ruling would be difficult to over-turn because
prosecutors conceded there could have been other people shooting horses in
the area --- even before Brock, Brendle and Merlino arrived.
The lawyers also said there are no legislative standards for a
prosecution to plan to add the valve of each horse until the total tope
$5000 --- the point at which a gross misdemeanor turns into a felony.
Unlike prized Thoroughbreds worth fortunes, a wild horse’s value
is highly subjective --- priceless to those who see them as a symbol of
the Wild West, worthless to some ranchers who consider them rangeland
pests that compete with livestock for feed.
UPDATE news article below)
April 13, 2001
Update -Comstock Chronicle, Virginia City (98 Christmas slaughter)
NV Supreme Court Rules
on Lagomarsino Canyon Horse Slayings
Virginia City, Nevada.
A new trial is being scheduled for the three
defendants in the grisly killing of 27 wild horses in Lagomarsino Canyon
in 1998. The new trial,
tentatively scheduled for July 2001, is prompted by the Supreme Court of
Nevada’s recent reversal of key portions of determinations in the
The Supreme Court justices (panel of three)
concluded that District Court Judge Griffin “committed substantial
error” when he found that the State had failed to establish “probable
cause” regarding the murder of 7 horses in addition to the single horse
–called #12- killing with which each defendant is currently charged.
In so finding, the Supreme Court justices reaffirmed the original
finding of the Storey County Justice Court (May 99).
According to the ruling, the justices found that the State
presented sufficient evidence to “support a reasonable inference” that
the three men accused of the brutal killings committed the crime because
they had “access to such weapons, they admitted being in Lagomarsino
Canyon at or near the time period in which the horses were shot, they
admitted shooting into a herd of horses, and they admitted returning to
collect or destroy evidence.”
court further based its reversal on a review of the Justice Court record
in which ballistics’ reports regarding the slaughtered animals and the
crime scene revealed that the .22 caliber projectiles found in and around
the bodies were “identical projectiles”.
The District Court was correct in its reading
of the NRS statute that the value of each animal killed could not be
considered in aggregate to reach the cost level where it would constitute
a single felony as the State –Storey County- had attempted to do.
The Supreme Court also sustained the District Court’s
determination that allows the State to amend the information to allege 1)
more specific facts and 2) the “singular gross misdemeanor crime” in
killing horse #12.
This is particularly interesting since the
state has never “actually charged” the accused with a gross
misdemeanor violation. After
the court’s ruling that the felony charge was improper, “technically
no formal charge remained.”
Supreme Court notes that the “language of the district court’s order
is somewhat confusing”. The ruling states that the accused raised no objection to the
District Court’s ruling and then footnotes this fact with the revelation
of the court transcript showing that one of the attorneys for the accused
“drafted the order at the request of the district court and thus may
have composed language in question.”
The new trial will not be held in Storey County, but
will be moved to Carson City (Nevada).
See Trial Date set below.
for the three charged
Reno high school classmates, Merlino, Brock and Brendle, in the 1998 December Christmas
holiday slaughter of reportedly 34 wild horses just east of Reno/Sparks,
Nevada has been officially set. Jury selection will began on Monday,
January 7, 2002 with Trial ending Tuesday, January 22, 2002 in Judge
Michael Griffin's District Court, Carson City, Nevada. The threesome
will face eight gross
misdemeanor charges, including the original #12, plus
each wild horse labeled # 9,
15, 17, 19, 23 and 24 by Storey County prosecutors.
2001 - Nevada Appeal, Carson
Horse Killers in Court
By F.T. Norton, Appeal Staff Writer
VIRGINIA CITY – Two of the
three men accused in the 1998 Christmas-time slaughter of
more than 30 wild horses near Virginia City are expected
to enter plea agreements to lesser charges, said Storey
County Deputy District Attorney Sharon Claassen on
Originally set to enter pleas today in
Virginia City in front of District Judge Michael Griffin,
the hearing was postponed because Griffin was ill.
new date is expected to be set before January 7 2002 when
the trio’s trial was scheduled to begin.
“Two of the three are expected to
plea,” said Classen.
She was unable to speak about the specifics of
“The negotiations are in the process of
being finalized,” she said.
One of these expected to enter a
plea is Anthony Merlino, a Reno construction worker.
“After a long and arduous process
we believe that there will be a fair resolution.
Mr. Merlino is looking forward to getting this
behind him,” said Merlino’s attorney Scott
for the other two men were unavailable for comment.
Merlino and former U.S. Marines
Darien Brock and Scott Brendle, were arrested in January
1999 after a December 27, 1998 report of horses shot in
the Largomarcino Canyon area between Lockwood and Virginia
Searchers eventually located a total of
33 shot horses---29 that were dead and four that had to be
A tip from a woman who allegedly heard
one of the defendants at a party bragging about shooting
the horses led authorities to Merlino.
Brock and Brendle were home on Christmas leave from
their bases in Southern California at the time of the
shooting. The three men are Reno natives and attended high school
The three men admitted they shot at
horses and killed one in the area on the night of December
27, 1998, the first day authorities began discovering the
string of carcasses.
Brendle also confessed to spraying one
dying or dead horse with a fire extinguisher.
But all three denied any involvement in a mass
Both Brendle and Brock were given
less-than-honorable discharges from the Marine Corps
following their arrests.
Justice for the
slaughtered wild horses will not be served by simple
"slap-on-the-hand" plea bargaining. The
trial should proceed as scheduled with all evidence
presented in a court of law before a jury and not covered up
by a plea bargaining.. SEE 1-7-2002 below-UPDATE.
NO TRIAL. Suspects below:
Associated Press State & Local Wire
BC cycle State and Regional
enter pleas in Nevada horse shooting case
By BRENDAN RILEY, Associated Press Writer
CARSON CITY, Nev.
Two men charged in the slaughter of dozens of wild horses
in the hills east of Reno pleaded no contest Monday to
single gross misdemeanor counts, and a third defendant
pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor.
Sentencing was set for Feb. 11 in the Christmastime
1998 case that prompted international outrage and led to
less-than-honorable military discharges for two of the
three former Reno high school buddies.
Scott Brendle, 24, and Darien Brock, 23, pleaded no
contest to gross misdemeanor counts of killing or maiming
an animal. Those pleas will be treated as guilty pleas. The
two former Marine lance corporals could face up to one
year in jail and fines up to $2,000. Anthony Merlino, 23,
a Reno construction worker who admitted he shot one
injured horse to put it out of its misery, pleaded guilty
to a misdemeanor count of disturbing the peace. He faces
up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.
District Judge Mike Griffin said he had received thousands
of letters from individuals and organizations urging him
to impose harsh sentences.
"They want me to put these people in prison for life
on something the DA has no evidence," Griffin said.
Carcasses of 33 horses were found in the area. But the
three defendants said most of the horses already had been
slaughtered when they came upon them. Their lawyers noted
bullets and shell casings at the scene could have come
from nearly 20 different types of guns.
Those seeking harsh penalties included the Humane Society
of the United States, which said the negotiated pleas were
unwarranted "given the extraordinary depravity of
The Humane Society's Ariana Huemer, in a letter sent
Friday to Griffin, said the Nevada Supreme Court recently
had ruled there was enough evidence to charge the men for
killing several horses.
But the judge's view of the evidence wasn't challenged by
Deputy District Attorney Sharon Claassen.
"There simply was no affirmative evidence," she
said in court.
The three defendants gave brief responses when the judge
questioned them about their pleas. Outside court, their
lawyers spoke to reporters but the defendants had no
"Everyone has this all wrong," said Merlino's
lawyer Scott Freeman. "They got the wrong guys. The
district attorney used all those resources, and came up
Brendle's lawyer John Ohlson said his client tried to
enter a similar plea three years ago, adding, "Scott
was put through the wringer in the case - to get to the
same point where we started out."
"From day one, they admitted to one horse,"
added Brock's lawyer Marc Picker. "Their story hasn't
The horse shootings occurred on Dec. 27, 1998, and the
three men were arrested in February 1999. They originally
were charged with killing more than two dozen wild horses.
A justice of the peace dismissed the more serious charges
against them after a preliminary hearing in September
Then in March, Griffin further reduced the prosecution's
case, saying there was insufficient evidence to proceed on
all but one gross misdemeanor involving a single horse.
The trial was postponed the next month when Griffin
granted a rare change of venue, saying media coverage had
stacked tiny Storey County against the defendants.
In April the Nevada Supreme Court said prosecutors could
file seven more gross misdemeanor counts against the
defendants, but the state high court rejected claims by
the district attorney's office that there was probable
cause for 22 counts against each defendant.
The 1999 Nevada Legislature passed a law making the
killing of a wild horse a felony instead of a misdemeanor
- a move that has been described by Claassen as the best
result of the case.
"It's frustrating, but the district attorney has a
duty not to prosecute cases where you don't have the
evidence to back the charges," Claassen said after
"While we may speculate and have gut feelings about
what happened, when you get to the courtroom you must
prove the charges beyond a reasonable doubt.
"I feel comfortable that the pleas reflect the
charges we could have convicted them on."
"The problem was that we could match one casing to
one of their guns. But the slugs recovered from the horses
were so bashed up that we could only tell what type they
were - not what gun they were fired from."
SENTENCING AFTER THREE YEARS...Final Chapter????
February 12, 2002 Nevada
Appeal-Carson City NV
By Brendan Riley, Associated Press
Jail Time, Fines for Horse Shooting
defendants in a horse slaughter case that prompted
international outrage were sentenced Monday to brief jail
terms and fines. A
third defendant was fined and put on probation.
than three years after dozens of wild mustangs were gunned
down near Reno, District Judge Michael Griffin imposed
39-day jail terms on Scott Brendle, 24, and Darien Brock,
23, ordered probation for up to two years and fined them
Merlino, 23, was placed on one year’s probation and fined
three Reno men also must complete 100 hours of community
service and split a $1,500 restitution charge.
sentences had been sought by prosecutors and by the Humane
Society of the United States.
But Griffin said he based his decision on what was
known for certain…not “what I think might have
also noted that tests on the dead horses showed many of them
died from guns that the defendants didn’t own.
judge also said he had received “tens of thousands” of
letters from people upset about the case, including some
letters turned over to authorities because of death threats
against the defendants.
began Christmastime 1998, when carcasses of 33 wild mustangs
were found in the hills east of Reno.
Multiple felony counts were filed against the three
former Reno high school buddies.
most serious charges were dismissed in court proceedings,
and the Nevada Supreme Court ruled last year that there was
no probable cause for dozens of counts against each
in a plea bargain, Brendle and Brock pleaded no contest to
single gross misdemeanor counts of killing or maiming an
animal, and Merlino pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge
of disturbing the peace.
and Brock, former Marine lance corporals who received
less-than-honorable military discharges because of the case,
could have been jailed for up to one year.
Merlino, a construction worker who admitted he shot
one injured horse to put it out of its misery, could have
been jailed up to six month.
the sentencing, Deputy District Attorney Sharon Claassen
said she remains convinced the three were responsible for
more than the death of one horse…”but if I can’t prove
it, it doesn’t matter what I think.”.
also said the plea agreement was the best way to resolve the
she said she wanted “a better dose of jail time” for the
defendants, all now have convictions on their records.
Brendle, Brock and Merlino
didn’t comment after the sentencing. Brendle’s lawyer
John Ohlson and Brock’s attorney Marc Picker both said
their clients shouldn’t have received jail time.
Merlino’s lawyer Scott
Freeman said critics of the case hadn’t bothered to read
the lengthy files that showed how weak the evidence was,
adding, “These people have no idea what they’re talking
Ohlson added that animal rights
groups know that their criticism in such cases will help
them get contributions, and now that the Nevada case is over
they’ll move on to “whatever outrage is available.”
Wayne Pacelle of the Humane
Society said he was disappointed that the sentences
weren’t harsher because the horse shootings “were so
heinous and out of bounds.”
“It’s important that
sentences be strong, to send a signal to everyone that this
conduct is totally unacceptable,” Pacelle said.
“We consider these acts to be barbaric.”
Darien Brock Scott
Brendle SEE BELOW:
colt, labeled #4 by the prosecution. (pass mouse
2-11-2002 Storey County Deputy D.A. Claassen, showing Brock's frame
of mind, presented the photo on
the left to District Court Judge Griffin at time of the
sentencing in an attempt to persuade Judge Griffin to give a maximum
sentence under the lesser charges plea-bargaining agreement that
included only one horse, #12. The 98 Christmas holiday
trophy-like photo is ex-Marine Darien Brock with his foot upon the
4-month old colt, #4 horse, ALVIN, as we named him. This photo was
from a roll of film confiscated by the investigators from the
defendants' camera. The defendant's photo show they had not
yet sprayed the colt with a fire extinguisher. Another similar
photo included ex-Marine Scott Brendle with his foot upon the colt,
too. The color photo on the right taken on 2-17-2002,
three years after the slaughter, is that of Alvin's remains where he
Photos taken late
afternoon of 12-27-98 after the tragedy had been reported to the
authorities. By this time, the defendants had sprayed Alvin
with a fire extinguisher.
justice served for the slaughtered wild horses
without a trial so that all evidence could have been
presented and decided by a
jury? Go to "HOPE",
paralyzed 6 month old filly. Go to "BUGZ",
6 month old survivor.