Residents ask county to legislate horse fence
November 2, 2007
Following the roundup of wild horses in east Carson Valley Oct. 17, some East Valley residents are calling for an ordinance mandating fencing for those who don’t want them on their property.
“Wild horses have a history in our Valley and the people moving here need to be responsible for protecting their property from wildlife,” East Valley resident Linda Chambers recently told the county commissioners.
“The mustangs will be gone from the American West very soon, so we have a decision to make,” Chambers said. “Is it lawful and justifiable to steal the freedom of a horse, or can we solve this stupid, convoluted problem by passing a law requiring homeowners to protect their own vegetation from encroachment with a fence.
“If we don’t do that, we aren’t proper stewards of the land,” she said.
According to Mark Struble, spokesman for the Bureau of Land Management, seven horses were rounded up Oct. 17 in the East Valley after a resident complained.
The horses have been put up for adoption, Struble said.
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“In periods of extreme drought like we have now, horses go into the system,” he said.
Another band of about eight horses is still roaming the Pine Nuts, but the two Bureau trap sites have been removed, Struble said.
“In the end, if property owners want wild horses off their property, they need to fence it,” Struble said. “It’s the best thing residents can do if they live in a designated range area, but people have rights. It’s a continuing problem and a safety concern, but our hands are tied.”
A local horse posse sometimes drives the horses back into the Pine Nut Mountains, but that tactic only works for so long when there is fresh grass and water for the taking in the Valley, Struble said.
Wildflower Ridge resident Lee Johnson told commissioners that wild horse crossing signs should be used to slow traffic on Fish Springs and East Valley roads, where wild horses have been killed by speeding cars.
Horses habituated to domestic grass and water supplies are also more at risk for getting hit by cars, another concern for the bureau, Struble said.
“Human life and safety are our number one concern,” he said.
Johnson said he also supports a fencing ordinance to protect the horses.
“Trash containers are an attractive nuisance with respect to bears and lawns are an attractive nuisance with respect to horses,” he said. “Put up a simple fence. It doesn’t take much, if people want a lawn.”
Wildflower Ridge resident Gary Griffith said people are passionate on both sides of the issue.
He supports the fencing to support the horses and suggested fencing for any new developments near horse country.
“The Sterling Ranch fenced their whole area and the problem was solved,” he said.
— Susie Vasquez can be reached at email@example.com or 782-5121, ext. 211.