Accomplishments

  • Accomplishments

We have had a very busy 2013 and are updating this page soon!

On January 10, 2014 Oregon PBS asked Leigh for a fast recount of some of the litigation accomplishments as he could not find a succinct listing. This was her response:

You asked for the “fast” version. I will try to do this brief.

The “wins” I noted in the previous email were all court orders.
(all noted “wins” do not include the emergency motions granted before hearing. These are only court orders after hearing).
In the first Owyhee case (Tuscarora) we gained a TRO (ordered by the court) against the land closure.
I did not stop gathering foals in July, but I won on the land closure.
 
In Triple B I gained a TRO against pilot conduct (hit a horse) and later a Preliminary Injunction.
This case led to BLM creating a document called the Triple B review where for the first time they admitted the alleged conduct actually occurred, however they called conduct “humane,” with instances of aggressive handling.
This them led to the “IM,” that BLM asserts is a handling policy. The fight continues as the identical practices are documented repeatedly with no change.
 
In the Jackson Mountain case we gained a TRO against rounding up foals in June.
 
We had a win in 2012 (February 14th) in the Ninth on press freedom (case now in mediation ordered by Ninth Circuit).
National Press Photographers Ass’n Blog: http://blogs.nppa.org/advocacy/tag/laura-leigh/
 
We filed for Snowstorm and BLM cancelled the roundup (not a court order).
 
We filed against the Three HMA non-observance of Bait trapping and BLM changed plans.
 
Second Owyhee case (ongoing) where we gained strong language from the court against inhumane handling. Case also includes illegal removals and that is awaiting further action from the court.
 
I could go on and on about the cases and what they have gained but you wanted this brief.
Due to all the legal battles (seven active in 2013) I have not had time to update the website.
: )

Our “resume.” Please help support the work. Without you we can’t continue. We have roundups that we need to attend and Court issues to address. We have several projects including investigative work and creation of a public lands handbook for wild horse advocates. We need your help to keep this going!

The below list is not inclusive (but representative) of all of the meetings attended, field work WHE has done and documents WHE has created and contributed to. We get extremely busy and update this page as we have time. If page is not up to date you can simply go to the home page and start reading… we will get to it as fast as possible. Thank you. 

2013

-March 2013- Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Advisory Board public education information to assist in crafting relevant comments. Crafted and submitted reports to Advisory Board. Gathering volunteers and beginning “Keep Them in The Wild” action campaign to address varied issues designed to keep wild herds in the wild. Continued legal action in Three Federal court cases addressing inhumane treatment, lack of adequate information for removals and access to wild horses and burros from range through adoption, sale or death: Owyhee HERE. Gained another decision in the TripleB/Jackson Mountain case that keeps all areas open in Discovery as we head to hearing on the underlying case READ HERE. Working on several issues pending at the state level in Nevada including the Bill to ban horse tripping and language to promote tourism and protection in Nevada. WHE president Laura Leigh shot video of horse tripping and gave testimony at the hearing. “Movie Week” brought many issues to the public through use of video. The “finale” was the edit of roundups in 2012.  Continued work with various media outlets. Continued range work to prepare for some of the issues that will face wild horses and burros in the coming year so we are ready with data as it is needed.

-February 2013- Reports prepared on Nevada Tri-RAC meeting. Prepared documents in the ongoing case for the Owyhee Complex Federal court case (heading for Preliminary Injunction hearing and underlying case). Continued efforts to address issues at the Diamond Complex including adoption and ongoing range issues as 30 horses await return to the range in spring. All work related to gathering witnesses, preparing case and the Hearing on the 2 1/2 year saga in Federal court on the “Press Freedom” case (that has already created a published opinion and new case law). Working on issues surrounding the Deer Run Herd in Carson city, meetings with BLM,state officials, media and coverage of the bait trap operation.

-January 2013- Filed Complaint and Motions for Preliminary Injunction and Restraining Order (TRO) against the Owyhee Complex roundup. Inhumane Conduct and inaccuracies in identifying excess animals are addressed in the Motions. Jan. 4, 2013 the TRO was granted and operations halted. Judge allowed roundup to resume after hearing on Jan 10 and issued court expectations for humane care. Reply briefs filed in Owyhee, awaiting hearing date for Preliminary Injunction. Briefs filed in continuing Triple B (Jackson Mountain) case during Discovery. Prep for trial of First Amendment issues continued. Observations of the Diamond Complex roundup. Tri-RAC attended and reports prepped for mailing to members.

2012

-December 2012- Coverage of the Owyhee roundup that began Nov 26 and ran through the 22nd of December. Continued work on both active cases (issues) for access and humane care.

-November 2012- Coverage of the Wassuk roundup. Owyhee roundup coverage begins. Continued hearings on First Amendment issue and Humane care. Continuation of investigations into wild horses going to slaughter. Continued involvement into land use plan research.

- October 2012- Coverage of Antelope Complex 2012 roundup. Range survey work. Ongoing investigations (including BLM’s sale authority that leaves wild horses open to slaughter). Status conference hearings on the First Amendment case. RMP (land use plan) research and engagement.

September 2012- Coverage of NE Great Basin RAC meeting where several very pertinent issues including upcoming roundups were discussed. Public scoping meeting on “eco-sanctuary” proposal attended and information given to the public. Status conference hearing with Federal Court Judge Larry Hicks on “press freedom, first amendment case,” fighting for access to the handling and care of our wild horses no matter where they are in the system. Research and field investigations on various issues continue. Release of ProPublica article by Dave Philipps connecting BLM to known killbuyer (WHE assisted investigation).

- August 2012- Coverage of the Nevada Department of Agriculture meeting and letter writing campaign. Wild Horse Territory Tribune (online newspaper collection of news releases updated daily from all around the wild horse and burro world) announced, run by WHE volunteer Connie J. Cunningham. Range data collection.

-July 2012- Drought monitoring within the state of Nevada. Documentation includes the Diamond drought report (Diamond Complex is currently being evaluated for a round by BLM in January of 2013). Investigation of foaling rate data in areas that include Jackson Mountain underway. Adoption assistance.

- June 2012 – the Honorable Judge Howard J. McKibben issued another Injunction to pilot conduct in the Triple B Complex case that was amended following a decision in the Ninth Circuit on another matter by the same Plaintiff and attorney that changed underlying case law.

-June 2012 – Suit filed to the Jackson Mountain roundup that attempted to use an area of finite emergency to gather the entire HMA during foaling season. TRO won. Coverage of the Jackson Mountain Roundup that included providing information to several publications and video for HLN. Various attempts made prior to roundup to address issues. Read case here. Range data collection.

-May 2012- Hold Your Wild Horses! Part 2 release to the public free (rough documentary in progress addressing legislative and various current legal issues). Participation in post roundup review with BLM personnel and recommendations included in documents. Range data collection.

-April 2012- Extensive work on First Amendment case and Humane conduct case. Tour and report of Broken Arrow. 

- March 2012 – a Motion to reconsider the decision in the Triple B wild horse roundup “Inhumane” case was filed. The letter for reconsideration was based on the win in the First Amendment suit that created new case law no longer restriction argument to the duration of a roundup. Coverage of Bullfrog burro roundup.

- February 2012Ninth Circuit Court win – (reprinted with permission from Horseback Magazine) “In a Nevada case with far reaching First Amendment implications, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has struck down a ruling by a Reno federal judge and remanded the complaint of a Horseback Magazine news photographer back to his court. Laura Leigh, a freelance photojournalist on general assignment to cover massive Bureau of Land Management roundups of wild horses in the American West, sought a temporary restraining order on grounds that her access to observe the capture process directly was being routinely denied by the federal Bureau of Land Management.” (Access became restricted following the publication by various individuals of images that the Agency had a hard time “explaining.” Leigh was one of those individuals. Discriminatory access and restrictions on holding facilities and records are also at issue. Read here what the suit asks for). Coverage of the Stone Cabin roundup and cooperative effort with BLM toward the trap site adoption event.

- January 2012 – Hearing on Amended Complaint Humane Care Triple B – That amended complaint sought to take an earlier motion past the end of the Triple B Roundup which ended when a Temporary Restraining Order was granted near the end of the roundup in August of 2011 after incidents of inappropriate treatment toward wild horses were witnessed. The Motion was denied based on the absence of the Triple B Complex from the 2012 roundup schedule. However the credibility of the documentation and the Issue, as well as Ms. Leigh’s broad standing was recognized by the Court and an “open door” to address these issues in the future was created by the Court. ALSO the hearing on the First Amendment suit in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals that won the Appeal. Coverage of Calico Complex and Flanigan Roundups.

Jackson Mountain Roundup June 2012, TRO won to keep the agency accountable to their own policy

2011

-December 2011- Analysis of Triple B team Review published in response to BLM’s investigation of the conduct that created a TRO in Federal Court in August 2011. Co-creation of the “Keep Their Light Shining” tribute to the passage of the Wild Horse and Burro Act of 1971. Candle Light Vigil with participants nationwide. Coverage of Calico Roundup. Range data collection.

-November 2011- Coverage Calico and High Rock Roundups. Tracking of holding facilities and adoption assistance.

-October 2011- Coverage of High Rock roundup. Hold Your Wild Horses! Part one (documentary in progress) released to the public. Tracking of holding facilities and adoption assistance. Range data collection

-September 2011- Amended Complaint filed in Triple B case. Coverage of Barren Valley Roundup.

-August 2011- Coverage of the Triple B roundup. Leigh filed suit and based on documentation gained the first TRO to inappropriate conduct (that TRO has created the basis for the ongoing case and reports etc that may result in the first standard of care in the history of the Act )

-July 2011- Coverage of Triple B roundup, Kiger/Riddle roundup, Sheldon USFWS survey.

- May and June 2011- Appeal Brief filed by Wild Horse Education in the First Amendment suit (including documentation compiling over 300 pages) in Ninth Circuit. Read Brief here: http://wildhorseeducation.files.wordpress.com/2011/05/whenewsletterv1.pdf Broken Arrow documentation. “Is it Bad Enough for you” video released that has gained more than a million views.

-April 2011- Free Book released to public (in progress) that includes glossary terms, etc. Video documentation provided to several film makers.

- March 2011- at the end of March 2011 Wild Horse Education was born.

copyright Laura Leigh

8 month old colt whose feet literally began to fall off after Calico Roundup 09/10

All of the documentation and histories of the work of founder Laura Leigh have been incorporated into the organization. This includes several Court cases and foundations for new case law.

Public land is now open and daily observations are now possible at roundups due to the prior cases. Leigh works as the assistant n all legal cases. She preps and assists on all documents, declarations etc. This has kept the costs of the cases at a minimum in comparison to other attorneys.

Leigh’s work includes documentation used in various news broadcasts including CNN. Leigh has written countless articles that have appeared both online and print venues. The entire body of work has been incorporated into the archives of WHE. She was the first to bring the public daily observations, posted daily, from roundups.

Join us in the fight to get a fair and humane treatment for the symbol of American Western Heritage, our wild horses and burros!

some roundup photos