All over eastern Carson Valley there are signs up asking residents not to feed the horses.
And yet, last week someone dumped a bale of hay in a ditch along East Valley Road, and it didn’t take long for the horses to find it.
We understand from the Pine Nut Wild Horse Association that the resident thought he was helping feed hungry horses.
But one of the reasons not to feed the horses is to keep them in the Pine Nuts where they are safe from passing cars and from being picked up by the Bureau of Land Management.
The Advocates say there is plenty of forage for the horses in the mountains.
One of the key issues Carson Valley traditionally has with wildlife is keeping it wild.
The horses should be able to survive on their own in the Pine Nuts, just as bears should be able to survive on their own in the wilderness.
Animals aren’t any different from people when it comes to easily finding food. The horses are going to eat hay when hay is easy to find. Bears will go through people’s garbage if it’s easy to get and won’t bother hibernating. Why should they if there’s lots of food around?
The problem is that horses and bears are really big and having them wander the neighborhoods isn’t just a hazard for them.
We wish people were more alert when they were driving around, particularly along the wildland interface, but that doesn’t reduce the hazard that a big animal poses in the road in the middle of the night.
Collisions with large animals are a major cause of collisions around North America, and while odds are it’s going to be a deer, more black bears are struck by vehicles every year in Western Nevada than are subject to the bear hunt. Horses have been struck and killed by vehicles in Carson Valley.
All we ask is that residents use a little horse sense and recognize that wild animals belong in the wild.
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