Fallon Foal (edited timeline)

I have been getting a lot of questions about the foal that I witnessed at the Bureau of Land Management’s Fallon facility. Many of the questions I’m sent center around the chain of events surrounding the requests for information and the vet report. I hope this “fills in the blanks” for you.

Vet Report Request

On January 22 I was given a tour of the Bureau of Land Management’s Fallon holding facility in Nevada. The facility is still under construction but was used to warehouse the wild horse inventory gathered from the Calico Complex Herd Management Area. Awarding the contract to a private entity and having the facility constructed on private property has created a situation where viewing wild horse inventory by the public (that owns that inventory) must be achieved through strict appointment times and dates.

During that visit to the facility I viewed the hospital area. There were many horses (mostly foals) that all demonstrated some form of lameness. I viewed approximately a dozen foals and 4 mares. There was also one of the riding horses in a “hospital” pen. Of particular concern was a foal that would not rise when approached or vocalized to.

Many attempts were made to gain info on that foal and get him released into private care. The foal died.

The first attempt to gain info and care of the foal was made via voice mail to both Gene Seidlitz (Winnemucca district manager), sent 1/22 and John Neill (acting BLM manager at Fallon) sent 1/23. This e-mail basically documents the request, (e-mail excerpt to Seidlitz):

Today as we went through the “hospital” area, (another thank-you here for allowing that visit) there was the one foal I was most concerned about. The others stood and moved away from me, this guy just raised his head. I mentioned to John the concern and do recognize the added stress isolating this youngster would bring. However, if he makes it through the night I know of two prior BLM adopters (with orphan foal experience) in close proximity that would head out with a trailer, pick him up, and take on the expense of his care… with 15 minutes notice.

I know that there is specific protocol, but perhaps in this instance it could be sped up?

Picture attached to e-mail

I received a phone call from John Neill the day after I e-mailed him. This e-mail documents that call (in part):

Thanks for calling me with the update on the foal.

When you get that vet report I’d really appreciate seeing a copy asap as we discussed.

I’d like to know what the vet thinks about his prognosis.

I’m still very concerned and can get that foal additional care if it is required, (allowed).

Two days later (January 26) another telephone call occurred. I was reassured the foal was still doing fine.

Thanks for calling me with the update on the foal.

When you get that vet report I’d really appreciate seeing a copy asap as we discussed.

I’d like to know what the vet thinks about his prognosis.

I’m still very concerned and can get that foal additional care if it is required, (allowed).

I was on the road and had conversations with John Neill in reference to the foal.

I was repeatedly informed of his improved status and continued to ask he be “tracked” for adoption. I repeatedly asked for vet report.

On February 1, I made another call to John Neill to request the vet report.

“It’s online, (It wasn’t). He was euthanized Friday or Saturday for hoof slough.” John Neill.

Several more requests for the report were made. More e-mail and conversation. This is an excerpt from an e-mail from John Neill dated 2/4:

Attached is a vet report for sloughed hoofs foal. This report should be

posted on the web as I was informed this would happen. The diagnosis in

this report covers a foal that was diagnosed, treated and euthanized

earlier for the same reasons. The dates will not jive with the foal you

are referring to. However, the diagnosis, treatment and outcome are the

same. We will not be posting detailed vet reports for every treatment to

specific animals received.

My response, in part:

This is a very different response you gave to my first request for information. Saturday the 23rd the vet was out with the foal and I asked for a report. You said you would send it as soon as it was available.

When I asked to place him in a facility we had a conversation about not wanting to further traumatize by transport. We then had a conversation where you informed me there were no signs of abscess and the foal was doing fine. I then requested that if his condition changed to please let me know and I would place him in a facility at private expense. I was told you would keep me posted. And if he was in bad shape would “try.”

Releasing that foal was not impossible. I beleive the BLM site posted another foal was to be released for care, an orphan.

I then said I would FOIA the report if needed.

On 2/5 I received an e-mail from Dean Bolstad  (who was added to the e-mail chain by John Neill) that the report would be available on Monday.

On 2/8:


Attached is the requested veterinarian report. I’m sending it to you for

John Neill.

(See attached file: Veterinarian Report_Weanling Colt 2-6-2010.pdf)

The report:

February 6, 2010

History and Report on Sloughed Hoof Colt

An eight month old colt arrived at the Indian Lakes Facility on about 1/20/2010

and was in very poor body condition and had sore feet.  It was placed in the sick

pen area where treatment could be administered.  Over the next ten days, the

colt was treated with phenylbutazone (a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug),

penicillin (an antibiotic) and foot bandages (one front foot and both hind feet) on

three occasions before it was euthanized on 1/30/2010.

The colt alternately improved and regressed.  The colt would be standing while

eating and drinking one day and not on the next day.  The colt never was able to

actually gain weight, improve body condition or show increased energy.

Lameness improved with treatment but eventually the colt became too weak to

stand.  Hoof wall separation occurred on the front foot and one hind foot.  The

colt was euthanized for humane reasons.

The gather most likely caused the hoof trauma in this case.  However, the poor

body condition and weakness was most likely present before the gather.

Richard Sanford, DVM

NV # 565

The above is the “complete” vet report on the foal. It has no identifying points. It lists no markings, location, not even a specified intake date. The above report shows no dates of treatment nor does it list the foals’ status on any specified date.

There is no way to determine which foal is even in that report. The foal I saw on the 22nd of January looked like a candidate for humane euthanasia that night. The foal limping with  bandages on his feet (photo below) looks like he may have lasted another week. The lack of specific tracking at the holding facility leaves one with a real sick feeling that we will never really know the truth about how many die and how they die.

These two foals had bandages on their feet.

If you look at the photo (sent to BLM to identify the foal), there are no bandages on the foal’s feet. If you follow the e-mails and conversation that specific foal would have had all of the “treatment,” besides the bute, after 1/27, I was never told he warranted bandaging.

The listing of “poor body condition” and “weakness” is easily refuted by the video. It is also refuted by the fact that the foal ran so hard he caused trauma so severe to his feet that his hooves began to slough off. He ran so hard for miles, chased by a helicopter to stay with his family that he was immediately separated from at the trap site, that his feet eventually fell off. That is not a “weak” foal. The vague vet report has me seriously doubting the authenticity of any accurate accounting of the inventory at Fallon.The continued placation, spin and outright lies perpetuated by BLM personnel has me wondering if a dialogue will ever occur that simply deals with “what is” and “how do we fix it” in any fashion that resembles reason.

The death of this little foal has me sad beyond mere words.


12 thoughts on “Fallon Foal (edited timeline)

  1. The neglect and disregard for the health and lives of these horses by BLM is spelled out here in spades. This is sad beyond reasoning and is abusive and a betrayal to the Public Trust these horses are part of in the 1971 FRWH&B Act.
    I just wish someone else were put in charge and BLM shown the door. This should never happen. This aggressive negative management is inhumane. BLM end this fiasco now.

    Thanks Laura, you should put this in comments at the Cloud and RT sites under the orphan foal posts. I would but my signal is bad today in the snow storm… mar

  2. carol poole says:

    So so sad Laura! So sorry you had to be a witness to the suffering of the foal and all the horses of Calico. All the more reason we must put an end to the BLM’s reign over the wild horses once and for all. These majestic animals cannot die in vain! We won’t let them.

  3. Savewildhorses says:

    Can someone please tell me why the foals are separated from their mothers immediately? I cannot tell you how much that bothers me. There is no reason for it.

    I think this little foal may (I stress may) have made it had mama been closeby. Or if Laura had been allowed to provide care the BLM vet was obviously not providing. This makes me so terribly sad.

  4. Connie Lamothe says:

    What can we do? How can we spread the word? This is terrible and should be made common public knowledge.

  5. Anne says:

    I, too, agree the “Mares and Foals are being separated too soon; before the Foals are weaned; causing stress in the Foals and Mares; to throw away good Mares’ Milk; what a pity

  6. Anna says:

    BLM: The colt would be standing while eating and drinking one day and not on the next day. The colt never was able to actually gain weight, improve body condition or show increased energy.

    Lameness improved with treatment but eventually the colt became too weak to stand

    comment: The colt would be standing while eating and drinking one day and not on the next day

    anne: so what they should have done is: on the day the Foal was Not standing up and eating and drinking…

    they should have brought her Bottle of milk or IV nutrition;

    Instead blm dragged the Foal to sandpit and “LET HER DIE”

    and to top off that insanity; when Sanford went out to check on Hope the Foal to see if she was alive?

    and when Hope the Foal was alive after not eating for 3 days; Dr. Sanford was “outraged Hope the Foal was alive !

    and he went into his shack and whipped out his “gun…walked over to Hope the foal and shot her! ANIMAL CRUELTY IN BROAD DAYLIGHT; STOP the BLM Vets.
    Anne USA 1951

  7. Anna says:

    This website created by people who care

    Visit our
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    This is why we supported Laura Leigh v Salazar on BLM conducting the Tuscarora roundup during foaling season. Help us keep them accountable !

  8. Michele says:

    This is sickening. I am completely at a loss for the words I would want to use to describe the individuals responsible for the suffering of these poor horses. How dare these animals be treated in such an inhuman manner and then dismissed when in the need of aid. I just can’t understand how this is allowed to continue! All it takes is someone willing to listen, in the right position of course, to put a stop to this inhumanity!!!!!! I have a raw feeling in my stomach just reading all the horror these horses endure. The people responsible should be ashamed and I only wish the “Karma bug” could bite them in the ass. How I would love to see them treated in return for how they treated these beautiful creatures!!!! Then to have someone drag their weak bodies over to a sand pile to slowly suffer and die as well. I wish that the cruelty to animals would come to an end, but until then, can only hope that more peoples eyes are opened to the horrific crap that is going on behind closed doors!!!!

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