Legal

Wild Horse “Press Freedom” federal court date set

Hospital pen showing 8 month old colt that dies from hoof slough during Calico 09/10

October 29, 2012: Hon. Judge Larry Hicks set the date to hear the Injunctive relief portion of the “press freedoms” case brought against the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) for February 19, 2013.

The Plaintiff in the case, Laura Leigh of Wild Horse Education and special projects journalist for Horseback Magazine, began to address the issues of access to handling and caring for wild horses by the agency after her photographs garnered the agency public criticism and they began to restrict her access. The case addresses the access to horses and burros from “capture through ultimate disposition;” wether that be adoption, sale authority or death.

The date was set during a status conference hearing held yesterday, October 29. During the hearing both attorney for the Plaintiff, Gordon Cowan of Reno, and the attorney for the government, Erik Peterson, discussed the lengthy conversations their respective clients have been engaged in the last several months. The respective attorneys informed the court that the conversations encompass both cases currently active in Reno District Federal Court, the press freedoms case as well as the case that has become known as the “humane care case” and encompasses the Temporary Restraining Orders (TRO’s) and Injunctive Relief granted Plaintiff on Triple B and Jackson Mountain. Both attorneys felt that settlement in both matters was within the realm of possibility, but not decided at this time.

Hon. Judge Larry Hicks is eager to see these matters resolved. To that end he set the hearing date on the Injunctive Relief portion of the press freedoms case for February. The case will be heard by the standard created in the Ninth Circuit Appeal won by the Plaintiff and allow presentation of information denied in the first hearing as well as by the standards set in the Ninth decision.

“The process is painfully slow,” stated Plaintiff Leigh, “when you invest considerable time and resources to gain access to information and animal health that is continually obstructed. Yet even with the restrictions you continue to witness actions that do not demonstrate that the welfare of the animals is paramount. This is a gut-wrenching, frustrating process. Yet I am hopeful that we will eventually arrive at “right action.” If that right action comes through conversations that can set the tone for a more productive future relationship, all the better. But if we have to continue to “‘battle it out’ in court so be it. These issues are far too important to leave unaddressed by every avenue available.”

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These cases, and supporting documentation, are supported solely by Wild Horse Education, a registered Nevada non-profit.  http://wildhorseeducation.org

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