BLM traps 21 Fish Springs horses | RecordCourier.com

BLM traps 21 Fish Springs horses

Yellow signs along Fish Springs Road show support for the wild horses and ask people not to feed them.

Horse advocates estimate a quarter to a third of the Fish Springs herd has been trapped in the East Valley over the past six weeks.

An email received from the BLM by a supporter of the Pine Nut Wild Horse Advocates said that since late October the BLM has trapped 21 horses from two separate locations on private property.

“All feed and water placed on those private properties was placed by BLM staff conducting bait trapping,” the email said.

The BLM claims that under federal regulations, a written request from a landowner to any BLM representative is sufficient to legally trap the horses.

At least one group of horse activists is threatening to sue the BLM if they don’t put the horses back, saying the BLM should have issued a public notice to gather the horses.

The the Oregon-based Citizens Against Equine Slaughter asserts that the BLM should require residents who don’t want horses in their yards to put up a fence. Because they didn’t, the group claims BLM must put the horses back on the land.

The group said it would hold any lawsuit in abeyance to give the advocates time to work out an agreement with the BLM.

The BLM trapping started four days after the Wild Horse Advocates declined to sign a memorandum of understanding to preserve the Fish Springs herd saying the conditions were too one-sided to preserve the horses in the wild.

One of the landowners who trapped wild horses on his property has been subject to what he calls “political terrorism.”

Planning Commissioner DeVere Henderson said he has contacted the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office over numerous emails and voice mails prompted by trapping a band of wild horses on his property.

“I’m sorry people are upset at all this,” he said in an interview with The R-C on Monday. “There’s a piece of me that’s sorry for all this and the trauma it’s caused. But having said that, the way this whole thing with these wild horses has been handled is not solving the problem. We’ve still got these horses running around is an indication that despite the efforts of everyone, it’s not working.”

Henderson said he decided to ask the Bureau of Land Management for help in October when he woke up one morning to find 14 horses in his yard.

“The gentleman came out and he said ‘We can trap these horses for you. We’ve had many, many complaints. But Mr. Henderson I want to warn you. If you do this, these people are going to be all over you. You can’t imagine.’”

Henderson contends that fire has reduced the amount of forage for horses in the mountains, making it harder for them to survive.

“In fact the habitat has been decimated and been reduced and there isn’t enough food for these animals, so they’re going out and feeding them and that’s part of the reason they came the five miles from Fish Springs to my house to get something to eat,” he said. “We’ve got way too many animals and fencing the yard exacerbates the situation. All that does is force these animals in a smaller and smaller environment and force them out on the road.”

Henderson said he is up for reappointment Tuesday to the Planning Commission, where he feels he’s done a good job trying to slow down growth.

According to the call log and emails he provided to The Record-Courier, most of the reaction is coming from people who live outside Carson Valley. In one voice mail a woman said she hoped he didn’t have a family member die.

A Facebook post drew a comment from someone who threatened to beat up Henderson, who’s 78 years old.

However, he said he doesn’t plan to back down on this issue.

“I was a fighter pilot in the Air Force and I flew 800 hours of combat time and I’ve been shot at a lot,” he said. “They picked the wrong guy to try and intimidate. I’m not going to be intimidated by these people.”

He said he felt that reason should trump emotion on this issue.

“There are a lot of people who didn’t like what happened, and I can understand some of that,” he said. “Do you let emotion or let reason govern what’s done in the county? It needs to be done with reason.”

Advocates are urging residents to contact them on Facebook instead of contacting the BLM.