Court Enjoins Sale Of Wild Horses At Auction In Nevada

In a ruling issued last night U.S. District Judge Miranda Du of the District Court in Nevada granted our request for a temporary restraining order to stop the sale of wild horses at a private auction being held this morning in Fallon Nevada.  Approximately 417 horses were rounded up last week by the Paiute and Shoshone Tribe pursuant to an Agreement with the Forest Service that allowed the Tribe to remove their own horses as well as any "unbranded / unknown ownership / unclaimed horses” from both tribal and Forest Service lands and take them to the auction for sale.  The Forest Service has acknowledged that some of the buyers will likely be sending horses to slaughterhouses in Mexico and Canada.  We filed a case on Thursday, August 15, 2013 challenging the Forest Service's failure to take precautions to ensure that rounded up horses did not include wild horses protected under the Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burros Act, and a motion for a temporary restraining order yesterday morning to ensure that none of the unbranded horses collected by the Tribe would be sold until it could be determined whether they are wild or domesticated.  In granting the motion last night, Judge Du ruled that "Plaintiffs have demonstrated an immediate threat of irreparable harm if the status quo is not maintained, that is, the sale of wild horses and their possible slaughter," and that "the public interest is served when the Court maintains the status quo to ensure wild horses are not improperly removed and auctioned for sale to be potentially slaughtered because of an agency's action."   The Judge has set a further hearing on the matter for August 21.