Calico Foal “Hope” died 2010 Broken Arrow

These two pieces were originally published on the blog “artandhorseslauraleigh.wordpress.com” and in Horseback Magazine.

They are posted here as a “point in time” to illustrate WHY BLM has closed the doors at places like Broken Arrow and is denying true access to our wild horses.

This issue is part of the lawsuit supported by Wild Horse Education on behalf of Laura Leigh as Plaintiff.

We still believe that there is Hope. We still believe that somewhere, somehow things will change. We see signs today  that there are a few that are listening at BLM and hold onto HOPE that the winds of change will spread seeds that grow. Obstacles are many… but we will never forget.

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Death of the Calico Foal published 2/15/2010

Calico Foal
Foal euthanized at Fallon Facilty

Hope Springs Eternal  (A Eulogy)  By Laura Leigh

written 2/1/2010

HOUSTON, (Horseback) – On January 22, 2010 I was given a tour of the Fallon holding facility after my observation days (Calico gather) had been cancelled by weather twice.

I had witnessed the gather on January 16, and met Gene Seidlitz (Winnemucca district manager) and Heather Emmons, both of the Bureau of Land Management. Both appeared to be very willing to accommodate and provide access in as transparent a manner as possible Gene spoke to me many times about the concept of finding areas for dialogue and co-operation. I had hoped to write an article based on that concept.

On January 22, Seidlitz and Lisa Ross, BLM public relations coordinator for Calico gather met me at the agency’s Fallon facility. John Neill is acting BLM manager at Fallon. I was given free access to photograph and ask questions. I was also allowed to videotape the “hospital” facility at Fallon. I soon saw a row of small pens near the entrance to the facility next to the area being built to process horses. The plywood for windbreaks was stacked but not installed.

The pens held mostly foals and a few mares. Each horse I saw demonstrated some form of lameness. Many had bandages on their legs. Of particular concern was a foal that would not rise when approached.. His eyes were glassy.

Over the next few days I made several attempts to gain information about that foal. I sent e-mails to Gene, Lisa, and John. I was told the foal was up the very next day and doing well. Information I found hard to believe because I did not think he would even make it through the night. I requested a vet report and was told I would have it as soon as one was available. I requested that the foal be released to me and I would facilitate his placement into a facility that could properly care for him. The request was denied, the BLM saying it was not needed.

I named him “Hope Springs Eternal.” I began to make inquiries to find a facility to bring him to. He would have a home.

Several more conversations with John Neill continued to assure me the foal was fine. John said he was busy and if I did not get the vet report to please call him again.

I called today. I was told the vet report is online. It’s not. He was euthanized Saturday because his hooves had begun to slough.

My emotions are many:

So much for a timely exchange of information. So much for the concept that the “guys on the ground” are any different than the guys in DC, something they want you to believe. So much for the idea that co-operation toward problem solving with the best interests of the horses at its heart will ever be a reality. So much for “ Hope Springs Eternal.”

The baby I saw on January 22 was in incredible pain to the point that, as a wild animal, he could hardly lift his head as a strange human, a potential predator, approached. All the others rose and limped away. This baby languished in that facility with no windbreak in agony. A baby that had a chance if the humans involved could have attempted to create an opportunity to work together. Releasing that foal would have cost the BLM nothing… and maybe created the sensation that somewhere in this madness a spirit of humanity could overcome this battle of obstinate adherence to outdated bureaucratic protocol. I had “Hope.”

Little spirit you are now free of this administration’s unwillingness to recognize your worth. “Hope Springs Eternal,” rest in peace. You are loved.

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Fallon Foal (edited Timeline) published 2/20/2010

I have been getting a lot of questions about the foal that I witnessed at the Bureau of Land Management’s Fallon facility. Many of the questions I’m sent center around the chain of events surrounding the requests for information and the vet report. I hope this “fills in the blanks” for you.

Vet Report Request

On January 22 I was given a tour of the Bureau of Land Management’s Fallon holding facility in Nevada. The facility is still under construction but was used to warehouse the wild horse inventory gathered from the Calico Complex Herd Management Area. Awarding the contract to a private entity and having the facility constructed on private property has created a situation where viewing wild horse inventory by the public (that owns that inventory) must be achieved through strict appointment times and dates.

During that visit to the facility I viewed the hospital area. There were many horses (mostly foals) that all demonstrated some form of lameness. I viewed approximately a dozen foals and 4 mares. There was also one of the riding horses in a “hospital” pen. Of particular concern was a foal that would not rise when approached or vocalized to.

Many attempts were made to gain info on that foal and get him released into private care. The foal died.

The first attempt to gain info and care of the foal was made via voice mail to both Gene Seidlitz (Winnemucca district manager), sent 1/22 and John Neill (acting BLM manager at Fallon) sent 1/23. This e-mail basically documents the request, (e-mail excerpt to Seidlitz):

Today as we went through the “hospital” area, (another thank-you here for allowing that visit) there was the one foal I was most concerned about. The others stood and moved away from me, this guy just raised his head. I mentioned to John the concern and do recognize the added stress isolating this youngster would bring. However, if he makes it through the night I know of two prior BLM adopters (with orphan foal experience) in close proximity that would head out with a trailer, pick him up, and take on the expense of his care… with 15 minutes notice.

I know that there is specific protocol, but perhaps in this instance it could be sped up?

I received a phone call from John Neill the day after I e-mailed him. This e-mail documents that call (in part):

Thanks for calling me with the update on the foal.

When you get that vet report I’d really appreciate seeing a copy asap as we discussed.

I’d like to know what the vet thinks about his prognosis.

I’m still very concerned and can get that foal additional care if it is required, (allowed).

Two days later (January 26) another telephone call occurred. I was reassured the foal was still doing fine.

Thanks for calling me with the update on the foal.

When you get that vet report I’d really appreciate seeing a copy asap as we discussed.

I’d like to know what the vet thinks about his prognosis.

I’m still very concerned and can get that foal additional care if it is required, (allowed).

I was on the road and had conversations with John Neill in reference to the foal.

I was repeatedly informed of his improved status and continued to ask he be “tracked” for adoption. I repeatedly asked for vet report.

On February 1, I made another call to John Neill to request the vet report.

“It’s online, (It wasn’t). He was euthanized Friday or Saturday for hoof slough.” John Neill.

Several more requests for the report were made. More e-mail and conversation. This is an excerpt from an e-mail from John Neill dated 2/4:

Attached is a vet report for sloughed hoofs foal. This report should be

posted on the web as I was informed this would happen. The diagnosis in

this report covers a foal that was diagnosed, treated and euthanized

earlier for the same reasons. The dates will not jive with the foal you

are referring to. However, the diagnosis, treatment and outcome are the

same. We will not be posting detailed vet reports for every treatment to

specific animals received.

My response, in part:

This is a very different response you gave to my first request for information. Saturday the 23rd the vet was out with the foal and I asked for a report. You said you would send it as soon as it was available.

When I asked to place him in a facility we had a conversation about not wanting to further traumatize by transport. We then had a conversation where you informed me there were no signs of abscess and the foal was doing fine. I then requested that if his condition changed to please let me know and I would place him in a facility at private expense. I was told you would keep me posted. And if he was in bad shape would “try.”

Releasing that foal was not impossible. I beleive the BLM site posted another foal was to be released for care, an orphan.

I then said I would FOIA the report if needed.

On 2/5 I received an e-mail from Dean Bolstad  (who was added to the e-mail chain by John Neill) that the report would be available on Monday.

On 2/8:

Laura,

Attached is the requested veterinarian report. I’m sending it to you for

John Neill.

(See attached file: Veterinarian Report_Weanling Colt 2-6-2010.pdf)

The report:

February 6, 2010

History and Report on Sloughed Hoof Colt

An eight month old colt arrived at the Indian Lakes Facility on about 1/20/2010

and was in very poor body condition and had sore feet.  It was placed in the sick

pen area where treatment could be administered.  Over the next ten days, the

colt was treated with phenylbutazone (a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug),

penicillin (an antibiotic) and foot bandages (one front foot and both hind feet) on

three occasions before it was euthanized on 1/30/2010.

The colt alternately improved and regressed.  The colt would be standing while

eating and drinking one day and not on the next day.  The colt never was able to

actually gain weight, improve body condition or show increased energy.

Lameness improved with treatment but eventually the colt became too weak to

stand.  Hoof wall separation occurred on the front foot and one hind foot.  The

colt was euthanized for humane reasons.

The gather most likely caused the hoof trauma in this case.  However, the poor

body condition and weakness was most likely present before the gather.

Richard Sanford, DVM

NV # 565

The above is the “complete” vet report on the foal. It has no identifying points. It lists no markings, location, not even a specified intake date. The above report shows no dates of treatment nor does it list the foals’ status on any specified date.

There is no way to determine which foal is even in that report. The foal I saw on the 22nd of January looked like a candidate for humane euthanasia that night. The foal limping with  bandages on his feet (photo below) looks like he may have lasted another week. The lack of specific tracking at the holding facility leaves one with a real sick feeling that we will never really know the truth about how many die and how they die.

These two foals had bandages on their feet.

If you look at the photo (sent to BLM to identify the foal), there are no bandages on the foal’s feet. If you follow the e-mails and conversation that specific foal would have had all of the “treatment,” besides the bute, after 1/27, I was never told he warranted bandaging.

The listing of “poor body condition” and “weakness” is easily refuted by the video. It is also refuted by the fact that the foal ran so hard he caused trauma so severe to his feet that his hooves began to slough off. He ran so hard for miles, chased by a helicopter to stay with his family that he was immediately separated from at the trap site, that his feet eventually fell off. That is not a “weak” foal. The vague vet report has me seriously doubting the authenticity of any accurate accounting of the inventory at Fallon.The continued placation, spin and outright lies perpetuated by BLM personnel has me wondering if a dialogue will ever occur that simply deals with “what is” and “how do we fix it” in any fashion that resembles reason.

The death of this little foal has me sad beyond mere words.

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