BLM Pilot Conduct Ruled “Inhumane” at Triple B Wild Horse Hearing
Federal Judge “Deeply Concerned” Over BLM Defense
RENO– Yesterday, August 30th 2011 in a Reno Nevada Federal Courtroom the Honorable Judge Howard McKibben granted a Temporary Restraining Order against the continuation of documented helicopter pilot conduct at the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) Triple B wild horse roundup in Eastern Nevada. Citing his authority as a Federal Judge to enjoin an agency’s conduct where their actions have been demonstrated to be “in violation of an Act” Judge McKibben issued the TRO.
“I am deeply concerned,” Judge Mckibben stated to Eric Petersen, BLM’s legal counsel, “that declarations presented to the Court by the Agency do not address the issue, but simply deny wrong doing.”
Judge Mckibben went on to recite the only declaration, of the four presented to the Court, that addressed an instance where video taken by Plaintiff Laura Leigh of Wild Horse Education (WHE) shows a BLM contract pilot coming dangerously close to an exhausted horse apparently making contact with the animal was in direct contrast to what was recorded. He stated that the declaration by Defendant was not what he observed in the video as he could see an exhausted animal and the pilot apparently making contact. He said he did not appreciate the “blame the horse” direction of the Defendant’s statements.
Although McKibben did not rule in Plaintiff’s favor on other cited alleged violations he did verbally address the Defendants. For example in the insufficient water assertion McKIbben did say that if the horses drain the water they should simply be given more.
Mckibben also noted that if the BLM brings a helicopter contractor back to Triple B, as stated in Alan Shepherd’s (BLM) declaration, “this Court will be watching.”