Wild Horse Education

Sheldon Mustangs Protected From Slaughter Contractor Past, what about tomorrow?

Kidron today, our rescued Sheldon foal from the 2013 roundup.

Kidron today, our rescued Sheldon foal from the 2013 roundup.

Sheldon Mustangs Protected From Known Slaughter Past

(DENIO,NV) Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge has issued a “stop work order” to a contractor that has failed to follow mandates of the contract to ensure Sheldon mustangs sent to them do not go to slaughter.

A case status conference was scheduled in ongoing litigation against Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) for July 1, 2014. The litigation brought by Bonnie Kohleriter and Laura Leigh, founder and President of Wild Horse Education, addresses both an historic lack of access to horse and burro roundups at the Refuge and Sheldon Mustangs repeatedly finding themselves in the slaughter pipeline.

In federal court John Kasbohm, Director of the Refuge, told the Judge that Sheldon changed it’s contract from the year prior and that horses removed in 2013 would be protected. Very quickly it was discovered that these “changes” were inadequate. J&S Associates (Stan Palmer) was allowing individuals to take horses for suspicious purposes.

Sheldon horses have undergone mass vasectomies and hysterectomies on the range that has resulted in less than a 5% birth rate on the range, yet horses were taken by one individual for “breeding.” It was also discovered that older mares were shipped for purposes of “rodeo.” In one such incident an employee of J&S posted on Facebook for people to “come and get ’em” post that referenced these horses in the context of a possible rodeo occurring onsite at J&S and multiple replies that included taking some of the horses to slaughter. In prior years J&S could not account for all of the horses they received, a recipient admitting to taking horses to slaughter and foals in their care deteriorating from improper care.

A few of these foals were rescued from J&S with the whereabouts of others still not known. The rescue came too late for one foal named “Apatchy,” because of the spot on his flank, who was euthanized due to malnutrition and severe permanent damage to his feet.

“I am relieved that this issue was taken seriously enough for Sheldon officials to investigate and take some appropriate action,” stated Laura Leigh, “I am heartbroken that not even a small token herd of Sheldon Mustangs will remain after the removal this year. These are the wild horses that first drew me to the range. My grandfather served in the cavalry in World War l. The wild horses from this area served in the cavalry in World War I. Never again in my lifetime will I be able to travel these ranges and see these amazing animals that transport me back in time when there was real pride in being an American. I am more than saddened. But at least the legacy of the the Sheldon Mustang ends with us all hopefully trying to give them a safe place to land instead of the going to the most horrifying death imaginable.”

Sheldon Mustangs were once part of an area where the government contracted for cavalry remounts. It is estimated in military records that nearly 500 horses a week shipped to Europe at the height of World War I, many of them taken from the area now known as Sheldon.

PLEASE NOTE: WE are awaiting final announcement of current contractors to ensure safe landing for the last of the Sheldon Mustangs. Our former attorney dropped this case without permission prior to completion of contract review for 2014 and accountability to 2013. We fear for those being removed this year… and Sheldon never accounted for those removed in 2013.


Wild Horse Education is devoted to gaining protections for America’s wild horses and burros from abuse, slaughter and extinction. Main website: http://WildHorseEducation.org

We have written numerous articles on the history of the horses and burros that inhabit the Refuge. http://wildhorseeducation.org//?s=Sheldon

We are currently working on our short film on the Legacy of the Sheldon Mustang, “Forsaken,” with a new rough cut expected soon. You can view the “trailer” here: http://wildhorseeducation.org/sheldon-nwr/

We have created a website devoted to preserving the Legacy of the Sheldon Mustang http://SheldonHorses.Wordpress.com

Categories: Wild Horse Education