Wild Horses Prevail Over Nevada Counties Legal Action

A win for Nevada's Wild Horses!

A win for Nevada’s Wild Horses!

Wild Horses Prevail Against Nevada Counties

(Reno,NV) Today in Reno Federal Court the Nevada Association of Counties (NACO) and Nevada Farm Bureau case against wild horses throughout the state of Nevada was dismissed.

The suit was a programmatic challenge to the way the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) manages wild horses in the state of Nevada. Requests for judgement included removing all wild horses to a prescribed number known as “Appropriate Management Level,” (AML) and if there was no space in holding to destroy wild horses to accommodate removals. The case was dismissed on all counts.

The Order reads: “The Clerk is ordered to enter judgment in favor of Federal Defendants and Defendant-Intervenors American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign, Terri Farley, Mark Terrell, and Laura Leigh.”

Laura Leigh, President and founder of Wild Horse Education a national advocacy organization based in Nevada was an Intervenor in the case. Leigh pointed to the only area specifically mentioned in the underlying complaint, The Diamond Complex. Leigh called the suit “apparent retaliation” for livestock restrictions due to drought. A roundup had occurred at the Diamond Complex and the county stopped 30 wild horses from returning to the range and then filed this motion.

“I spent time in the Diamonds and the range conditions mad me want to cry,” Leigh stated, “The wild horses in the area were kept from much of the range by fences set up to keep livestock contained. Because the ranchers continued to use the range the horses were forced further and further into unsuitable habitat. When the justified livestock restrictions began so did this fight.”

“I am very relieved to see this case dismissed,” said Leigh, “We stand at a time in history when mistakes of the past must be recognized. Tools are available to begin to take control of our public land in a sustainable fashion. We must begin to allocate forage for livestock in a way that stops the pounding our public land into dust. We must begin to manage our wild horses in a way that preserves rangeland to support healthy, genetically viable herds as intended under law. This ruling may be the beginning of moving out of archaic thinking and into this century.”

The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) finalized a report in June of 2013. Advocates are awaiting final recommendations based on the report that calls for the use of fertility control and gathering more inclusive data.

“We eagerly await the BLM recommendations becoming final on the NAS report,” Leigh said, “We certainly hope that BLM will remember the mistakes of the past and not set up a playing field that stays short sighted and open to attack from livestock. We must step forward carefully. The steps we take must be flexible and intelligent. It would be a huge mistake to have the next battlefield be riddled with old territory like surgical sterilization and slaughter.”

For now the argument in federal court over broad scale removals and destruction of wild horses in holding has come to an end. But the threat is far from over as counties begin to file similar motions independently of the state coalition.

Wild Horse Education is actively engaged.


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

Links of Interest

NACO suit

Background on Diamond Complex

More reading on NACO


NOTE: We are still awaiting a ruling on the Fish Creek wild horses from the IBLA. Update soon. The suit is essentially a mirror of the NACO claim with additional claims against a release. However we are confident moving forward particularly after the ruling on this case.

Please sign on to the letter to release the Fish Creek wild horses if you have not. Thank you!

Please support our efforts if you can

Categories: BLM, Lead, Legal, Slaughter

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