Curtis seeks hearings before horse roundups |

Curtis seeks hearings before horse roundups

by Christy Chalmers

A Douglas County commissioner wants to know if the Bureau of Land Management could be required to hold public meetings before wild horse roundups.

Commissioner Bernie Curtis has asked District Attorney Scott Doyle to research the legality of an ordinance requiring public notice.

Curtis lives in the Fish Springs area, where 42 horses were recently removed by the BLM.

“I don’t know why we couldn’t have a public hearing about why the horses are a nuisance,” said Curtis. “It seems to me that four or five people can ruin it for the rest of us.”

Curtis said he got several calls from Fish Springs residents upset by the recent roundup. BLM officials were acting based on a federal law, the 1971 Wild Horse and Burro Act, that requires removal of feral horses if complaints are made. They said five residents had complained about the Fish Springs herd, triggering the roundup.

Curtis acknowledged that the BLM might not be required to act on a county ordinance demanding hearings before roundups, but he hopes public sentiment that might be shared at such a meeting would be considered.

“It affects a lot more people than just the four or five who are complaining,” he said. “We’ve probably got 200 people who like the wild horses and enjoy them. I know the quality of my life went down when they were removed.”

A conclusion on the feasibility of a county ordinance probably won’t be available for a few weeks.