Dayton woman sparks international horse rally

Patty Bumgarner posted it as hopeful desire to one day unite advocates in protecting wild horses.

“How I wish all states would get together on the same day and time and be heard as one voice,” she wrote on her Facebook wall.

Instead, it was a battle cry heard around the globe, with advocacy groups from across the United States, along with Canada and Australia, joining the ranks.

“The next thing I new, I’ve got everybody joining in,” Bumgarner said. “I’m really surprised.”

In more than 40 states and three countries, demonstrators will join together Saturday for the International Day to Rally, in an effort to stop wild horse and burro round-ups and auctions.

The Wild Horse Preservation League is joining in the rally, declaring it Fighting for Nevada Wild Horse’s Day. Anyone wishing to join the protest is invited to meet at 10:30 a.m. Saturday in the park area between the Legislature and the Capitol.

The rally will run 11 a.m.-2 p.m. in front of the Legislature.

Bonnie Matton, public relations officer for the Wild Horse Preservation League, is hoping the rally will open up talks with Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval to restore cooperative agreements in place during the Kenny Guinn administration in the early 2000s.

Under those agreements, she said, wild-horse advocates worked with Nevada Department of Agriculture, which manages herds on private land, to keep the horses on the range.

Advocates responded to injury calls to do emergency pick-ups and also conducted small round-ups. Volunteers would use bait traps to capture small bands of horses on local ranges. Younger horses would be culled for sale, mares would be administered birth control and nuisance horses removed.

Advocates provided services at no cost.

“It worked successfully for years,” Matton said. “It’s the cheapest way.”

However, when Jim Gibbons took office in 2007, he ended all agreements.

Matton said similar agreements are in place with the Bureau of Land Management, which manages horses on federal lands.

She said Sandoval has taken steps to restore them with the Nevada Department of Agriculture as well.

Bumgarner, who has been a lifelong lover of horses and admired the wild herds around her Dayton home since moving there, joined the fight to save them last year.

She’s hoping her homegrown rally will have worldwide effects.

“I hope we can make a difference,” she said.


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