Response to “observation” opportunity at Sheldon NWR

Horseback Magazine

Steven Long, Editor


Open RSVP to Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge             August 12, 2011

Dear Mr. Collins,

I will not be attending your crafted “public observation” of the roundup of Wild Horses on Monday. The idea that perhaps three hours, and maybe one run into the trap, is observation is offensive.

The Refuge’s history of conducting operations out of public scrutiny after the “Sheldon Massacre” of 2006 is obviously continuing. From the limited observation, and questions that must be submitted in writing 24 hours after the email is sent, is content control at it’s zenith. The Refuge makes grandiose statements about policy change toward improving public relations that ring hollow.

Your press release about protecting Sheldon horses from slaughter gives no comfort. The protocol is identical to the past with the exception of pit tags.

Horses will still go to two contractors that are not known to the public (Carr’s being the exception). Sheldon has no budget to do any follow up on these horses.

The horses that are so “graciously” being returned to the range are being released in the same irresponsible fashion as you have always done. You will perform vasectomies without doing any follow up on behavioral ramifications. You will perform hysterectomies in holding.

I don’t need to use considerable resources to be shown nothing, and that nothing has changed.


Laura Leigh

Horseback Magazine

Leigh’s response is to the following email she received while attending the brutal summer roundup of the Triple B Complex in Ely Nevada. Where once again it appears discriminatory access has been given to Associated Press as Leigh has been told she can’t listen to a radio (new Nevada state policy) and can not be near the CORE during operation (AP videotaped Ben Noyes, WH&B specialist on the radio during a run).



Fw: Sheldon gather observation


08/12/2011 03:10 PM

Ms. Leigh,

Greetings from Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge.

We are working with the contractor to select an appropriate location for the gather site and subsequently an appropriate location for media observation of the Sheldon NWR 2011 horse gather. We will not know the exact location until Sunday afternoon after the gather site has been selected, but anticipate it will be in the vicinity of Big Spring Reservoir. Much of the gather area will be closed to public entry from August 14-17, but we are organizing a viewing trip for a limited number of media (due to vehicle and staffing limitations) on Monday, August 15. The viewing trip should provide opportunity to observe helicopter activities and at least one group of horses entering the gather site.

An independent observer for Sheldon NWR gather and sorting operations, Dr. Julie Wiekel, will be available Monday during the media trip for interview. We request you reply to this email with potential interview topics and questions for Dr. Wiekel in writing no later than 5:00 p.m. August 13 in order that she may provide any necessary specifics and details in her responses.

Because the area will be closed to public entry once gather operations are underway, the Service will provide a vehicle and staff escort for media representatives. Please be prepared to leave your vehicle at the rendezvous location during the observation period.

Here are the logistical details for media representatives who wish to observe the Sheldon NWR gather.

Date: August 15, 2011
Time: 9:30 a.m.- 1:30 p.m
Rendezvous location: Sheldon NWR at Hwy 140/ County Rd 8A Jct.
Necessary items: water, food, press credentials

Please RSVP if you plan to participate in the media viewing trip.


Aaron Collins
Park Ranger/ Public Affairs Officer
Sheldon-Hart Mtn. NWR Complex


3 thoughts on “Response to “observation” opportunity at Sheldon NWR

  1. Barbara Warner says:

    Absolutely outrageous!!

  2. arlene says:

    DITTO, makes me physically ILL………………………….

  3. Mar Wargo says:

    I do wish you could afford to go there regardless of what they say. What happens here may be the worst. These are still our wild horses. Sheldon will have to answer for this and when that day comes I hope you are there to hear it.

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