Wednesday, February 9, 2011

White Pine County Investigates BLM Roundup

My News 4

A sheriffs office is investigating if some of the actions in the Bureau of Land Management's wild horse roundup are animal abuse. This investigation started the same day we aired a video-- showing a helicopter pilot flying close to a horse in White Pine County. Brooke Boone has been working hard on this story... White Pine County Sheriff Dan Watts say his office received this video-- shortly after it was taken on January 28th. After seeing the video, they began investigating if Sun J Livestock-- the company hired by the Bureau of Land Management to round up horses in northern Nevada was committing animal cruelty. The investigation is now complete, and the District Attorney will then decide whether or not charges can be proven in court. Sheriff Watts tells News 4 it will depend on the severity of the case, but animal cruelty is a misdemeanor.

I tried once again to speak with or even get a comment from Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar. He is in charge of the BLM. We have not heard from him but we did get an emailed statement from his press secretary.

"Secretary Salazar is committed to the humane care of wild horses and burros, on or off the range. He believes that we need a common-sense approach that focuses on herd health and environmental health. If there is found to be animal cruelty appropriate actions will be taken."

Sheriff Watts tells News 4 they have and continue to get complaints from those observing the roundup. Watts says, "We don't want any cruelty to animals. We don't take a position on whether or not they should be rounded up or shouldn't but it's just that they're done humanely"

The roundup moved out of White Pine County and into Elko County today. We called the Elko County Sheriffs office to find out if they were on scene to monitor what was going on. They say they are not on scene but will get involved if necessary.

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