Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Update on Virginia Range Horses

Thanks to Willis for passing this along. 

Today (Monday Nov. 1) we had what we considered to be a very positive meeting with Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto and some key members of her staff.  Representing the advocates were Carrol Abel, Bonnie Matton, Shirley Allen and myself, along with Mike Holmes as our side's "expert."

Having everyone in one room, we discussed a whole array of issues ranging from what we considered to be violations of state laws in how Virginia Range horses were being sold by the Department of Agriculture, as well as our allegations involving extortion, the Susan Pohlman horse dumping incident, improper cancellation of cooperative agreements, improper destruction of public records, and what might and what might not be criminal violations as opposed to civil violations (violations that do not have criminal penalties attached to them under Nevada law.)

Since we were still pursuing possible criminal issues, it probably is not appropriate to comment other than to say that certain staffers were instructed to look into certain occurrences.

It is my personal observation that the members of Ms. Masto's staff came away with a better understanding of some terms and issues that specifically relate to horses and livestock, and we came away with a better understanding of some of the nuances of Nevada criminal procedure.

With respect to the Virginia Range horses that are presently standing at the Fallon Livestock Exchange, I was informed by Mr. Wayne Howle, Ms. Masto's Solicitor General, that a directive had been issued basically instructing the Nevada Department of Agriculture to not sell any horses in its possession until Ms. Masto's office could review the situation and determine the procedures that the Department must follow.  We thank Attorney General Masto for her quick response to this particular request.

Now that we don't have to worry about horses being sold tomorrow (Tuesday) we will focus on resolving what we can of the other issues that we raised.  Ms. Masto and her staff offered some suggestions that might prove beneficial in seeking long term resolutions to some of the concerns that we raised.

At the very least we all now have a better understanding of the various aspects to the problems that we were discussing.  As a result we should be able to effectively address those issues that are addressable, and present a case to the Legislature regarding those areas where the state statutes were overly ambiguous so that they can amended to eliminate "manipulation" by individuals wishing to subvert the law.

On behalf of the advocates present, we thank Ms. Masto and her staff for facilitating some very constructive dialogue.  Now we just need to stay on course and get results where we can.

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