Thursday, March 22, 2012

After Success in the Courts Leigh Fils Motion to Hold BLM Feet to the Fire

Horseback Magazine

March 21, 2012

The Court Battle for Humane Care of Wild Horses Marches on
RENO, (Wild Horse Education) – On March 20, 2012 a Motion to reconsider the decision in the Triple B wild horse roundup “Inhumane” case has been filed.
On January 26 in Reno Federal Court, Hon. Judge Howard J. McKibben denied the relief requested for Injunctive Relief sought by Laura Leigh, Founder of Wild Horse Education and VP of Wild Horse freedom Federation against the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) treatment of wild horses. That amended complaint sought to take an earlier motion past the end of the Triple B Roundup which ended when a Temporary Restraining Order was granted near the end of the roundup in August of 2011 after incidents of inappropriate treatment toward wild horses were witnessed. The Motion was denied based on the absence of the Triple B Complex from the 2012 roundup schedule.
The new Motion allowed by the Court is based on a ruling in another case brought by Leigh on First Amendment Rights issues that won a landmark win in the Ninth Circuit. In that case three Ninth Circuit Court Judges ruled that the roundups are inevitable based on the current basis of “Appropriate Management Levels” and BLM’s projected use of reproductive rates. The roundup does not need to be on the schedule to consider conduct (in this case the right of the press to report) based on demonstrated history.
The current Motion, filed by Reno attorney Gordon Cowan on Leigh’s behalf, states: “When, therefore, BLM returns to Triple B, there is no indication the Triple B horses to be rounded up, would be handled any differently than how they were mishandled previously.”
After the original TRO was granted to inhumane conduct in violation of the 1971 Act protecting wild horses and burros (August 2011) BLM did a review of the events at the Triple B roundup. That review contained admission of conduct that noted (among others): dragging horses by the neck, kicking in the head and pilot conduct including an incident where the pilot appears to hit an exhausted animal with the helicopter skids. BLM’s review included recommendations and outlined a timeline (90 days) for implementation of a protocol. No written policy has been published or implemented.
“Until there is a written clearly defined protocol, with provisions for violation, I have every expectation of continuing to document the same conduct I have in the past” states Leigh, “I have been on a non-stop marathon documenting wild horses and burros for over two years and witness the same things over and over. I have every reason to believe I will see it again.”
The BLM has two weeks to answer the Motion.
Donations to keep the Wild Horse Education Teams researching, documenting and reporting are greatly appreciated. 

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