The roundup of nearly 1,300 horses, which began July 20, is scheduled to end this week. The horses targeted in the Triple B roundup are among an estimated 2,200 that roam a series of horse management areas covering a total of 1.7 million acres southeast of Elko and northwest of Ely in eastern Nevada. BLM officials maintain the area can only sustain between 500 and 900 horses.
By SCOTT SONNER — Associated Press
RENO, Nev. — A federal judge in Nevada is taking the U.S. government to task for misconduct by a helicopter contractor during one of the biggest mustang roundups in the West, granting a rare emergency order sought by wild horse protection advocates who argue all of the gathers on public lands are inhumane and illegal.
U.S. District Judge Howard McKibben denied a request late Tuesday to halt the roundup at the Triple B complex in northeast Nevada near the Utah line. But he did issue a temporary restraining order banning any mistreatment of mustangs like the Wild Horse Freedom Federation caught on camera earlier this month.
Laura Leigh, the vice president of the Texas-based group that filed the lawsuit against Interior Secretary Kenneth Salazar, who oversees the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, said it was a small but important victory in a larger effort to bring attention to what she says is the BLM's routine violation of federal laws protecting the horses.
"This is significant because the judge saw what we see every day," Leigh told The Associated Press.
"This is a recognition in the federal court system that there is something wrong with not only what is going on out there but something wrong with the justification process."
BLM officials denied the group's claims that the helicopter pilot on the video actually struck a horse with a helicopter skid on Aug. 11.