Advocates: ATVs chasing wild horses | RecordCourier.com

Advocates: ATVs chasing wild horses

Staff Reports
Mary Cioffi took this photo of wild horses being chased by ATVers in the Pine Nuts.
Mary Cioffi/Special to The R-C

The Pine Nut Wild Horse Advocates remind local residents that chasing or harassing wild horses is against the law.

There have been numerous sightings of people using off-road vehicles, quads and motorcycles on the Fish Springs Range in the Pine Nut Mountains. One incident earlier in the year resulted in a 3-month-old foal being separated from his mother for three days. This week a group of three were observed chasing a band of eight horses across the range and over three hilltops causing the horses to gallop up steep hillsides and then another band with a foal only a couple of months old.

John Humphrey, a wildlife photographer and board member for the Pine Nut Wild Horse Advocates stated, “the greater number of the riders on the range are polite and respectful but it only takes one or to ruin it and terrify the wild horses. Harassing wild horses will not be tolerated and we will take photos and hand it over to law enforcement if we see you.”

Mary Cioffi, president of the Pine Nut Wild Horse Advocates, says the group works hard to keep the horses up in the hills, away from neighborhoods and volunteers are on the range every day. They work to educate the public but there are still young people who are not members of off-road vehicle groups and may not have anyone to teach them ethical off-road behavior.

She pleads with parents to explain to their young riders how important it is not to chase or harass the wild horses or other wildlife.

“To see a mare with a big belly, nearly due to have a foal running for her life, or a mare running with a new foal at her side terrified is just sad,” she said in a media release. “Early in the year a single guy on a quad chased a small band with a 3-month-old foal for so long the foal could not keep up. They separated the foal from his mother and chased the mare and stallion off. It took three days for the baby to be reunited with his mother. This is reckless and unacceptable human behavior.

“I saw the bands being forced to run by off-road riders three times in one afternoon We ask parents to encourage young riders to join an off road vehicle group like the Sierra Stompers where they routinely teach off road ethics. Chasing horses and watching them run may be fun for the riders but terrifying for the horses. Bands of horses are just like human families… there are old horses, young horses, lame horses, pregnant horses and new babies.”

Any person harassing wild horses is guilty of a gross misdemeanor in Nevada and if the wild horse is killed it is a class C felony per NRS 504.490