Taking it to the Ninth

Temporary holding

First Amendment suit heads for the Ninth Circuit

Wild Horse Education is continuing the legal battle for transparency against the Department of Interior (DOI) and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). Plaintiff Laura Leigh has filed her notice of Appeal April 28, 2011 for the lawsuit that battles for transparency of the “hands-on” care of wild horses and burros.

“The current suit is NOT about observing a single roundup,” Leigh stated “The emergency relief requested extends to the repetitive battle for observation. We have a right to know how our money is spent in the hands-on management of our horses throughout the process. From roundup through holding and their ultimate disposition, wherever that may be, it is our right to know.”

On February 14, 2011 Plaintiff Laura Leigh filed for permission to appeal her First Amendment Rights case against the BLM to the Ninth Circuit Court. Her plea was based on the fact that there had been no ruling by the Federal Court in Reno to her request for Emergency Injunctive Relief in a case she had filed five months previous. Her request cited that “no action” in a case requiring emergency relief was an essential denial of her motion.

Judge Larry Hicks of the Federal District Court in Reno has now denied Leigh’s motion as “moot.” However in his ruling he does allow written testimony to stand in the record that had been objected to by the BLM.

“Basically this is good news,” said Leigh “What the Judge has now given me is an opportunity to present this case without first going through the process of gaining the Court’s permission. He has also ruled that the entire record of the case remains intact and that is vital to demonstrate the repetitive behavior that has precedent in higher Courts as not moot.”

The Appeal process has now began and the full brief will be filed shortly.

Leigh has spent the last year observing more roundups than any government personnel and bringing the public daily reports. The suit she brought earlier in the year, to the same Court over closure of public land and a roundup during the heat of summer for the Owyhee Herd Management Area, bore fruit for public observers. That suit found that closure of public land was a prior restraint to First Amendment Rights, creating the beginning of a daily observation platform for the public.

The doors to the Indian Lakes (Broken Arrow) facility were closed due to public outrage over images they saw.

 “If the public is outraged by conduct,” Leigh said “it is an opportunity to clean up your act, not close the doors. That’s like a child that refuses to clean their room and instead locks their door.”

The full Brief is expected to be filed by Leigh and her attorney Gordon Cowan of Reno soon.

The legal efforts are supported solely by Wild Horse Education, a registered non-profit in the state of Nevada.

Website: http://WildHorseEducation.org

Free Book: http://wildhorseeducation101.wordpress.com/

Video of Eagle Roundup and denial of access to Indian Lakes (Broken Arrow): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vw8iX7LO8g0

Article published by Deb Coffey on the Indian Lakes facility contract in PPJ gazette: http://ppjg.wordpress.com/2011/04/17/blm%E2%80%99s-sweet-deal-paid-for-with-your-tax-dollars-of-course/#more-16184

L

Hope dying of hoof slough (Indian Lakes/Broken Arrow)

Really tired of it

I’m getting really tired of the advocate communities competitive bent.

The lack of cooperation, coordination and kindness among the groups hurts the horses. There are so many areas that need to be addressed and not ONE group will be able to address this issue as a “stand alone.”

Almost everything I do is attacked and critized by those that spend hours behind a keyboard and have not walked in my shoes.

Even the post I wrote about the two horses on the highway has been ridiculed! Dear God!

Fencelines on public highways (in HMA’s) that are not contiguous (they have gates onto public dirt roads or cattle guards onto the highway) are a sign that the animals (antelope, deer, horses) are public. You can be assured that if a horse can run along a fence (even if it goes miles before the break) and find that break, it’s a wild horse.

To all of you planning on going to roundups I have seen “what you need” lists written by people that have never been out to the range, let alone a roundup. Things like “when you get to the parking lot” and “bring a suitcase with wheels.”

Where do you think you are going?

Summer roundups are the easy ones. Winter roundups are very hard.

Summer:

Be aware of where you are.

BLM can not help you if your vehicle breaks down. They can call for help but will not help you themselves. Be prepared with a jack and two spare tires, jumper cables, a spare car battery. You will NOT have Cell service, if you do it is a gift, but don’t expect it.

Do not rent an all wheel drive. You need a four wheel drive WITH clearance. Not all traps are hard to get to but you might find yourself there on a day you are literally navigating a road along a cliffside with a sheer drop-off. You never know until you get there.

Make sure you have water and food, enough in case you have to spend the night on the range. Wear long pants and high boots, I have photographed rattlesnakes on 4 occassions near trap sites. Watch for fireants, they hurt. Carry Benadryl in your car right next to the sunscreen and ibuprofen.

You may have to hike in for a half mile or more. Carry in only what you can carry out.

If you are tooling around looking for horses be aware that even a drizzle can turn roads into cement. If it rains hard you can get caught in a flash flood. If you went out without being aware it would rain… get to high ground as fast as you can.

And PLEASE… at roundups follow the rules. If you don’t you can screw it up for anyone else that wants to go out. Don’t lie about who you are… google is a powerful tool.

I hope people go out. I hope there are others that take this on… but NOT as a one time thing. I want to see you out in December and January… daily. But the needs change… like a case of de-icer and windshield washer fluid.

Oh and if you bring a dog… he can’t leave the car at a trap site. If he barks he is a distraction and you may be asked to leave. If you get caught on the range over night do not let your dog run off leash, particularly after dark and sunset and sunrise. Be aware of tracks… yes, there are mountain lions out there.

And be ready that if you print anything you will be criticized. If you do a non-emotional report you will be accused of being heartless. If you do an emotional post you will be accused of being “hysteria-corps.”

So bring a thick skin… you will need it.

See you there.

Trapped

Note: I have been notified that many people are trying to post and are not being allowed. It appears that emails are bouncing and videos are also not playing. I will check to see if anyone has accessed my computer and screwed with settings. This may take a day or so, sorry for the issue.
 
 
 

Trap site from Antelope

I have been on a data collection mission. Checking out new issues and tracking down the old. But I had to revisit… I had to go sit at the old trap sites from this past winter.

Sitting there I felt like a Vietnam veteran that had returned home… to be criticized… and left with the private memories from hell to deal with alone. I could still hear the chopper blades and the horses calling to each other.

The trampled and broken sage marked each trap clearly. The evidence of the unnatural occurance. The evidence of the violent removal in such a beautiful serene place… and not a horse to be seen at any of the sites. The horse sign old… weathered.

As Elvis (my dog) and I traveled the highway from place to place I saw two horses. They were pacing the fenceline… one on either side of the highway separated by barbed wire run along the highway of our “public land.” I stopped to photograph them. They looked at me… and nature took it’s course… they were together last night.

I got back into my truck and began to shake. I couldn’t stop. I was not crying… I was not “emotional.” But the tremors that took my body had me find a hotel room and not spend another night on the range.

It is morning and I am going back “on the road.”

So much to do. So much information to get into hands that are more powerful than mine. More legal documents to prep… more prayers to say.

Romeo

Juliet

http://wildhorseeducation.org

Lawsuit: Update

Hospital Area Broken Arrow (Indian Lakes) Calico Complex Horses 1/2010 (Leigh)

The battle to see our horses continues, as horses continue to die behind closed doors

Wild Horse Education is continuing the legal battle for transparency against the Department of Interior (DOI) and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). Because the public is continually denied consistent access to roundups and holding facilities that house the American public’s wild horses, taken from public land with public funds, this action is gaining increasing importance.

On February 14, 2011 Plaintiff Laura Leigh filed for permission to appeal her First Amendment Rights case against the BLM to the Ninth Circuit Court. Her plea was based on the fact that there had been no ruling by the Federal Court in Reno to her request for Emergency Injunctive Relief in a case she had filed five months previous. Her request cited that “no action” in a case requiring emergency relief was an essential denial of her motion.

Judge Larry Hicks of the Federal District Court in Reno has now denied Leigh’s motion as “moot.” However in his ruling he does allow written testimony to stand in the record that had been objected to by the BLM.

“Basically this is good news,” said Leigh “What the Judge has now given me is an opportunity to present this case without first going through the process of gaining the Court’s permission. He has also ruled that the entire record of the case remains intact and that is vital to demonstrate the repetitive behavior that has precedent in higher Courts as not moot.”

Leigh has spent the last year observing more roundups than any government personnel and bringing the public daily reports. The suit she brought earlier last year, to the same Court over closure of public land and a roundup during the heat of summer for the Owyhee Herd Management Area, bore fruit for public observers. That suit found that closure of public land was a prior restraint to First Amendment Rights, creating the beginning of a daily observation platform for the public.

“The current suit is NOT about observing a single roundup,” Leigh stated “The emergency relief requested extends to the repetitive battle for observation. We have a right to know how our money is spent in the hands-on management of our horses throughout the process. From roundup through holding and their ultimate disposition, wherever that may be, it is our right to see it.”

This winter horses from the Eagle Complex joined those named in Leigh’s suit from the Silver King Herd Management Area behind the locked doors of the BLM Indian Lakes (Broken Arrow) facility in Fallon Nevada. Horses continue to die and suffer disease out of sight of public scrutiny. Horses in that facility continue to die at an alarming rate as indicated in the weekly reports.

Last spring the BLM closed the doors of the facility, which had previously offered weekly public tours, because of the intensity of public outrage. In an email from Dean Bolstad, of the Nevada state office in Reno to his superiors, dated May 25 of last year he writes: “The impact of stopping the tours pales in comparison to the impact to our employees and BLM’s image.”

Is this a reason to deny the public basic rights guaranteed in the Constitution? Or is this a reason to “clean up your act?”

The full Appeal is expected to be filed by Leigh and her attorney Gordon Cowan of Reno soon.

The legal efforts are supported solely by Wild Horse Education, a registered non-profit in the state of Nevada.

 

Laura Leigh
1/31/2011

 Personal Note: This suit has been a tremendous effort. You can ask anyone that has travelled with me how many hours I spend researching and crafting documents. Researching and collecting evidence and data in the field daily. The “concept of law” in this country is a complex process and the learning curve is steep.

Yet historically the evidence points to the fact that documentation and exposure changed practices that occured in the past. Documentation is creating a broader base of exposure throughout the world for what America is doing to it’s own symbol of Freedom.

We need to push this program into the light. The closed door facilities need to open. Meaningful observation MUST be allowed at roundups and facilities.

But I need your help. Support this action that benefits YOUR right to know.

More on Broken Arrow

Deb Coffey has given us more on her investigation into the Broken Arrow (Indian Lakes) Facility in Fallon Nevada. Her entire article can be viewed here: http://ppjg.wordpress.com/2011/04/17/blm%E2%80%99s-sweet-deal-paid-for-with-your-tax-dollars-of-course/#more-16184

 

BLM’s sweet deal (paid for with your tax dollars, of course!)

April 17, 2011 by ppjg

Debbie Coffey   Copyright 2011  All Rights Reserved

Investigative reporter/PPJ

______________________________________________

While many Americans have lost their homes or worry about losing their homes, and worry about finding or keeping their jobs, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) seems to be spending your hard earned tax dollars like high rollers. 

The BLM has its hand out at appropriations hearings asking for even more money for their mismanaged Wild Horse and Burro Program.  Where’s your money going?   

Look at one example.  Troy Adams/Broken ArrowUSAhas the contract for theIndian Lakes Road(AKA Broken Arrow) short term wild horse and burro holding facility inFallon,NV.  How does a guy fromCalifornia, who sold a cloned cow, get enough knowledge in wild horse behavior, and enough ability in safely handling wild horses, to win a bid to manage a facility that can hold up to 3,000 of our wild horses?

Troy Adams/Broken ArrowUSAcontract with the BLM is for 5 years (1/01/2010 to 12/31/2015):

Base year (2010 – 2011) – $2,525,000 with an option for “additional labor” for $127,920 ($24.60 per hour, per laborer) to FREEZEBRAND, RETAG, TRIM FEET, ETC. (same tasks apply to years below)

Year 1 (2011-2012) – $3,640,875 with an option for “additional labor” for $130,468 ($25.09 per hour)

Year 2  (2012 – 2013) – $3,759,500 with an option for “additional labor” for $133,068 ($25.59 per hour)  

Year 3 (2013 – 2014) – $3,832,500 with an option for “additional labor” for $135,720 ($26.10 per hour)

Year 4 (2014 – 2015) – $3,905,500 with an option for “additional labor” for $138,424 ($26.62 per hour)

So, the estimated 5 year TOTAL is $17,663,375, with optional “additional labor” adding $665,600 to that the total is ($18,328,975).  (Note: The money in this contract is based on estimated feed days.  See details of this at the end of the article.)

READ entire article att PPJ Gazette. http://ppjg.wordpress.com/2011/04/17/blm%E2%80%99s-sweet-deal-paid-for-with-your-tax-dollars-of-course/#more-16184

NOTE: My attorney and I must now craft a complete appeal to the Ninth circuit Court on the case that addresses the lack of transparency. We had applied for permission to appeal based on the lack of action in our emergency relief motion filed over six months ago. Well… Judge Larry Hicks of Nevada district Federal Court has now denied my emergency motion. Basically that now gives me the right to file a full appeal in the Ninth. But that will require significant work on both the attorneys part and mine… as well as create a need for another filing fee. Please support this suit if you can. Without your help it can’t be filed.

Donate toward the case to get these closed facilities open to the public.  Thank you.

Wild Horse Education Video

Wild Horse Education is beginning to publish Videos in a series titled “Roundup Reality.”

The videos will show footage taken at roundups and explain the size of the HMA and how many horses are to be “gathered.” They will show how the roundup was executed and demonstrate  if public access was allowed. Each video will be descriptive of each specific event.

Written explanation, with additional information, will be available in archived form on the Wild Horse Education Room 101 site.

The first in this series is the Eagle Roundup of 2011. This video has been chosen because the horses from this roundup went to the Broken Arrow facility (aka Indian Lakes).

Horses in that facility have been off limits to public viewing since the BLM shut the doors last spring due to public response from weekly images taken by observers that visited the facility. New information has been brought to light through the FOIA requested of journalist Deb Coffey. Her research has uncovered a copy of the contract held by Troy Adams for that facility. The contract states clearly that public visitation is part of the scope of the agreement through the year 2015.

The lawsuit brought by journalist Laura Leigh that is currently awaiting the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals addresses these issues directly. The public has a right to know how their American herds are treated by their government and contractors, throughout the entire process. This suit and other actions are supported directly through Wild Horse Education.

Facility Reports can be viewed: http://www.blm.gov/nv/st/en/prog/wh_b/Indian_Lakes_Facility.html

BLM “News Release” Fraud?

Sharing an article written by Deb Coffey. This Issue is part of the First Amendment case I filed, months ago. When we filed the case the memo (at the time I was working as Herd Watch, operating in conjunction with the Cloud Foundation and was having meetings with Bolstad, Neil and Seidlitz) and a few other documents were in public hands and have been included in the case. Coffey’s FOIA request has gleaned a much larger picture. Please support the lawsuit at WILD HORSE EDUCATION if you can. WE are very fortunate to have an attorney that understands both the need for absolute persitance and the fact that there is hardly any support.
This case has the potential to go to the Supreme Court. We need your help to get it there.
This article is the first of three in a series.
 
Debbie Coffey   Copyright   2011    All Rights Reserved

______________________________________________

“Why shouldn’t we write or call our Congressmen and BLM management officials?   American soldiers fought and died so that you would be free to do this.  BLM POLICIES are set at THE TOP by Congress, and by Secretary Ken Salazar of the Department of the Interior, and by Bob Abbey, Director of the Bureau of Land Management.  Call and write to them. ”

_______________________________________________

AUTHORS NOTE:  ALL DOCUMENTS MENTIONED BELOW ARE AVAILABLE IN THE READING ROOM AT   http://wildhorseeducation.org/essential-reading/documents-broken-arrow/

A Bureau of Land Management (BLM) News Release (the BLM seems to be using the word “news” loosely here) dated 5/28/10 with Lisa Reid and Dean Bolstad listed as contacts, was a BLM announcement of the final public tours at Indian Lakes Wild Horse Facility.   

This BLM release states: “Indian Lakes is a privately-owned and operated  facility, was never intended as a public facility and isn’t staffed to serve the public.  As a result, staff from other offices have been taken away from priority work and unplanned costs have been incurred.”

Foal dying Broken Arrow (Laura Leigh)

The most important question is “WHY would a government agency use OUR money to put something publicly owned (OUR wild horses) on PRIVATE PROPERTY, where we can NEVER HAVE ACCESS to them again?”  Isn’t this like stealing?

I filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request and asked for a list of staff taken from other offices, for a list of the priority work they were taken away from and for a list of and the amount of money spent on the “unplanned costs.”  I received a letter from Paulette L. Sanford of the Department of the Interior dated 10/6/2010, and was told “There is no itemized list or record of the amount of money spent on the unplanned cost” and “there is no list or record of staff who were detailed to work at the Indian Lakes Facility away from their priority work.”   

I also asked for any prior meeting notes and telephone conversation notes regarding the statement that Indian Lakes Road was “never intended as a public facility.” 

I received a contract modification for the Indian Lakes Road facility (AKA Broken Arrow USA) dated 3/22/2010 and signed by Troy Adams, for two hour public tours to be held once a week for the period of 1/01/2010 – 12/31/2015!  So apparently, 5 days before the “news release,” and only 3 days before the e-mail below, a contract was signed for future public tours of the Indian Lakes Road facility for the next 5 years.  Why would the BLM prepare and have a contract signed for something that they never intended to happen?

READ FULL ARTICLE HERE

Roundup Reality

Just finished loading the next draft section onto the Wild Horse Education site. If you have time feedback is appreciated. This book is being distributed in draft form as I work on three other projects….

copyright Leigh

New life on the Virginia Range 4/11/2011

Wild Horse Education has uploaded the next section in the free book “Wild Horse Education,” to the website.

The section titled “Roundup Reality” addresses some of the contradictions between the theory of roundups and what are witnessed by public observers.

“There are no consistent government standards for the way roundups are conducted,” said author Laura Leigh “no rules for pilot conduct, no rules for time animals spend without water. The only rules that seem to exist, even inconsistently, are those limiting public access.”

The section centers on discussion of the protocol surrounding helicopter roundups. Some of the assertions on the Bureau of Land management website are addressed. Among the challenges made in this section are: the statistic used representing mortality rate, the minimization of the stress induced by the helicopter chase and the published “foaling season.”

The next section is titled “What FOIA?” This section explains what the FOIA request is, where it is useful and how to make one. This section will be uploaded soon so check back!

WHE would like to remind all of you that it is not too late to express to your Legislators how you feel about Appropriations.
Find Your Representatives
http://www.congress.org/congressorg/officials/congress/?lvl=C&azip=Your%20ZIP%20code%20here

Website: http://WildHorseEducation.org

Free Book: http://wildhorseeducation101.wordpress.com/work-in-progress/
scroll to bottom of post for downloadable sections.

Wild Horse Education is a registered non-profit in the State of Nevada. Federal 501 status is in process. The First Amendment Legal case  filed by Gordon Cowan of Reno Nevada is supported by Wild Horse Education.

PVC 4/6/2011

HI all.

Hung out a PVC today with some of the Antelope Horses. Babies are cute no matter where they were born…. but I wish it were “home.”

Trying to get two more chapters completed in the guide on www.WildHorseEducation.org but it I needed to go sit with these horses for awhile. Trying to get through the photos and digest all that I have seen… it leaves a knot in my gut.

I am hoping to be back on the road soon. Field data needs to come in… I dread July.

But it’s adoption time of year. May 21 will have an adoption event at Northern Nevada Correctional Center in Carson City, Nevada. This program has had really well-trained horses in the past. These horses will be some of those taken last year from Twin Peaks. I will poat a reminder as the date gets closer.

Horses at PVC from Antelope are also available for adoption but will not be released until at least May. Strangles is still at the facility and all horses will continue to be swabbed before they leave.

I wish I could hit the lottery.

Wild Horse Education (Freebie)

Wild Horse Education is proud to announce a new project “Wild Horse Education Room 101.”

This project is designed to explain the process of management of wild herds on public land. Terminology, public involvement and basic management practices will be addressed in a free book being offered to the public as it is written in draft form.

“Time is of the essence here” said journalist Laura Leigh, founder of Wild Horse Education “often I see extreme frustration in the eyes of those that ask basic questions about wild herd management simply because of the terminology used on a website. Hopefully this project can help people understand how to help our American Treasure.”

Irreparable damage is being done to our wild herds as roundups occur and policies are carried out that are leaving our herds in a form of genetic bankruptcy. Herds are being pushed below population levels that can reproduce new members that are genetically sound toward sustainability.

The Bureau of Land Management, BLM, manages more wild herds than any other agency. Currently we have about half the number of areas managed for wild populations as we did when the Wild Free Roaming Horse and Burro Act was passed in 1971. Of those areas less than half have a population that can hope to recover from the policies that are being carried out at “break-neck” speed on public land.

“It is our hope that this new project helps quell some of the frustration,” said Leigh “Right now our herds need as many effective voices to be raised as they can get.”

To get a copy of the book go to www.WildHorseEducation.org scroll to the bottom of the page and click the picture captioned “Free Book”

Wild Horse Education is a registered non-profit in the State of Nevada. All of the work, including the First Amendment lawsuit protecting your right to know how your horses are handled by your government, is supported by contributions to Wild Horse Education. Thank-you.

Antelope 1/31 (Laura Leigh)

If you can please contribute to Wild Horse Education. The lawsuit needs more work and I need to get out and document pre-flight for the next round staring in July… I believe they will fly July 2 in Triple B. 

BLM and funding

copyright Laura Leigh

Foaling season MUST be addressed (copyright Laura Leigh)

Laura Allen of Animal Law Coalition has written a great piece on de-funding BLM through appropriations.http://www.animallawcoalition.com/wild-horses-and-burros/article/1673

This is one of those opportunities to “recycle” your work.

Many of you have just agonized over your comments to the Strategy document. A quick edit to your comments would make it an appropriate letter to FAX to your Representatives. (Yes, FAXes are always best).

By simply taking your list and saying something like “Until these issues are adequately addressed Congress should stop the funding of the system.”

And then cut and paste some of your comments from the letter you prepared on the Strategy document.

Letting your representatives know that you are unhappy with current protocol, that is paid for with your money, is important. You may also add a comment such as “Once the program has demonstrated that these issues are dealt with, and reflect the publics interest in this National Treasure demonstrated by the intent of legislation passed in 1971,( ie: humane care, transparency, sanctuaries open to the public, record keeping, data control) funding could resume.”

Find your Representatives HERE: http://www.congress.org/congressorg/officials/congress/?lvl=C&azip=Your%20ZIP%20code%20here

NOTE: Wild Horse Education will be launching it’s sister site soon. I am excited about this new project and am anxious to get your feedback.

A recap on the progress of the lawsuit is coming your way, too!

I’m just “up to my eyesballs” in work and will get each task completed as fast as I can.