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

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“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. ”

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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

Here we go again

Here we go again.

Nothing unexpected coming in. Nothing reassuring at all.

Same old, same old.

July is here and the claim that “foaling season” is over and running horses for miles is now “safe” is back in the dialogue.

We start in Owyhee in just days.

June 25 BLM Indian Lakes update: Mares are still foaling, but births are fewer and intermittent.

So I guess only mares in holding facilities are still giving birth. I guess running a foal born on July 1 at one week old for miles and miles in the desert is “safe.”

Oh yeah… and they will keep the public away until about the third week of July so if anything happens they can hide it. Close public land so no cameras can catch any of the horror or “civilians” find dead babies in the desert sun. I guess if we don’t see it somehow it hasn’t happened.

Sheldon 2006. They tried to deny what happened there. USFWS… but same contractor.

AWHPC Sheldon 2006 dead foal

We saw young horses die this winter from the effects of the helicopter gather. Those youngsters were about 8 months old… some of these babies will be less than 8 days old.

8 month old dying of hoof slough from the effects of being run miles by a Cattoor helicopter

Do you think we will ever get a schedule of proposed areas the BLM will close? When do you think such a schedule will arrive? If you are on public land and don’t know about the closures (because they didn’t post them) will you be arrested? Will lease holders be banned from the land or just the general public?

Write to Bolstad, Abbey and your Congressperson and tell them you demand observers be allowed from day one. To allow the BLM to operate without observers is not acceptable.

Observation?

I have been told by someone that my last post is “over my head.” So here is a basic example… back to the Broken Arrow… those analogies have been relatively easy to speak to a greater protocol issue.

Definition (dictionary.com):

ob·ser·va·tion

[ob-zur-vey-shuhn]  Show IPA

1. an act or instance of noticing or perceiving.

2. an act or instance of regarding attentively or watching.

3. the faculty or habit of observing or noticing.

4. notice: to escape a person’s observation.

5.an act or instance of viewing or noting a fact or occurrencefor some scientific    or other special purpose: the observation of blood pressure under stress.

Pick one BLM. Which one applies to daily observations by the BLM vet and onsite staff?

Foal pic dated 6/3/2010  Cat Kindsfather

Foal pic dated 6/3/2010 (Cat Kindsfather)

Email Dean Bolstad referencing this foal:

Examiner article here

“One foal had a cough and nasal discharge and was not feeling well. The veterinarian had administered antibiotics to this foal early Thursday morning before the tour started at 10 AM. Today,  (Friday) at 5 AM this foal was found in his pen deceased.”

Foal pic dated 6/10/2010

Foal pic dated 6/10/2010 (Elyse Gardner)

BTW this baby now has a name “Resurrection.”

Please remember Little Hope.

OBSERVATION by the BLM vet occurs daily… of what? Obviously the communication of specifics gets lost in this food chain.

OBSERVATION occurs on the range to create AML… oh yeah?

When your own internal reports say you can’t keep up and many districts can’t even get to the landscape! If the base of the “tower” is broken you need to fix the foundation first.

TOP to BOTTOM… broken, broken broken. Because the start point for policy sets the shape.

MORATORIUM before ANY dialogue of “New Direction.”

New I-Team Report

I-Team: Nearly 80 Wild Horses Dead After Roundup

LAS VEGAS — The Calico Hills wild horse roundup has been characterized by the Bureau of Land Management as a huge success. But wild horse advocates say it was a disaster, and one that grows worse every day.

The roundup ended months ago, but the horses are still paying the price — many with their lives — according to animal activists.

The case for the Calico wild horse roundup continues to deteriorate months after the government spent nearly $2 million to capture every mustang it could find in the rugged and remote terrain adjacent to Nevada’s Black Rock Desert.

From the beginning, the BLM claimed the gather was for the good of the horses and the good of the range, but it doesn’t appear either of those justifications were on the up and up.

First, there weren’t nearly as many mustangs on the range as BLM predicted. The roundup of about 1,900 mustangs fell short of the target by about 700. Second, the vast majority of the horses gathered were in good shape — not starving or emaciated.

BLM manager Gene Seidlitz said his agency was trying to avert a disaster down the road when food might be more scarce. As it turned out, the roundup itself was a disaster for the herds.

George Knapp’s I-Team Full Report on 8 News Now

Links to Award Winning reports by George Knapp can be found under “Ways to Help” in the menu at the top of this page. It is an honor to have my footage used in these reports.

If anyone finds an embed code on Knapp’s video send it on.  : )

Remember Me…

Today I announced the dismissal of the lawsuit I filed last fall against the Department of Interior and Sheldon NWR. The dismissal came after conversations with BLM staff and Paul Steblein of Sheldon NWR.

The dialogue about the Tri-state MegaPlex has been confirmed. It will happen.

I have stated before that historically the concept “complex” in BLM speak is simply another tool utilized to reduce AML.

However the possibility actually exists that new concepts for management can extend into the forum for change. In the spirit of supporting the idea that cooperative efforts among government agencies (and the public) can lead to solutions I have dismissed the suit.

We have all been witnessing the actions of the BLM at Calico. We all watched as Cloud’s family was driven into the trap by the helicopter.We all have the BLM clearly under scrutiny.

But I want to take a minute to remember the history of Sheldon.

AWHPC photo Sheldon 2006

Remember me? Perhaps just days old and forced to flee from my home in the heat of summer.

AWHPC Sheldon dead foal

Remember Me? I am one of the ones that couldn’t keep up and was left to die.

AWHPC 2006

Remember me?

Read more on the AWHPC site.

Sheldon NWR has no infrastructure to handle processing or adoption as these horses come off the range. I have written several papers about it in the past. Here is one. These horses historically have been vulnerable to the slaughter pipeline.

With dialogue on the table, in the works, however it is phrased… toward changing current protocol within the structures that manage wild horse populations I say “it’s about damn time.”

But I don’t want to hear the same old song.

This MegaPlex will happen.

But perhaps it can “really” happen. Perhaps it can create a change in protocol.

Put the damn breaks on. STOP.

Do the appropriate surveys in cooperation with each other.

Watch and track the horses as they move as you would with any wild population.

Then make a plan based on the data gathered over one year.

Create real cores that are balanced eco-systems. Protect them for the vanishing American treasure they truly are. These wild places represent the very soul of what it once meant to “be” American.

Steblein said to me “It’s time to stop pointing fingers and figure out how to solve this.”

I agree with that statement… but I will not forget.

AWHPC Sheldon 2006

*note: Sheldon is not BLM. They are Department of Interior, but USFWS.

Morning Coffee Chatter

It appears that there is some rather interesting “chatter” in the wild horse world today. I’ll start with this one and post again in a bit…

Maureen Harmonay wrote in an article for the Examiner about the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association reports posted on the BLM webpage about previously undisclosed deaths of Calico horses.

I wont comment to the specifics she addresses, but urge you to read the article. Instead I want to point out a bit more “food for thought” in the reports.

In the report dated Feb. 13, Dr. Davis (ASVMA), writes: “We did not see any indication of infectious disease.” He then goes on to note a horse in quarantine with an abscess that was suspected to have strangles.

comment: A horse with an abscess was in quarantine on Feb 13. A single horse with “no other signs of infectious disease” in the population. I thought we were being told horses had signs of pigeon fever and abscesses since they came in off the range?

He comments about the foals with sloughed hooves. He notes that only “verbal” information was available. He then notes that the foal was “emaciated,” and the metabolic issues associated with re-feeding may contribute to the condition causing eventual hoof slough.

comment: I will send Dr. Davis pictures of the “emaciated” foal with hoof slough.Then he will have visual confirmation that the colt was not emaciated. Perhaps he will delete the justification spin he hands the BLM in this report?

Calico Foal

Foal euthanized at Fallon Facilty

He also notes the average body score is 5 or above with a few at 3 or less. 12 horses in the hospital pen were of a 2 or less (mares).

comment: I was there at the end of January and saw a handful of 2′s, not in the hospital pens. The hospital pens held horses suffering from some form of lameness or another. I have photographs, no “2′s.”

However I agree the vast majority of horses were a 5 or better. The high percentage of older horses also refutes a claim of an unhealthy range.

I have too many comments about the reasons horses can drop weight quickly and if you read his report you will see the significant number of issues he left out.

He also notes that Dr. Sanford mentioned pregnant mares, gathered in winter, are usually in the poorest condition.

comment: So why did you do such a large gather during winter against the advice of a federal judge?

Popcorn?

I have re-edited the piece “Calico Complex In Retrospect” for viewing on the web.I was approached to provide video for a group pressing DVD’s for DC. They ran a test group and went only with my footage. I felt that the project I had begun was important because it told a more complete story of Calico.

I researched distribution and each option was expensive. This would slow down getting the images to the public in a manner that was timely. These horses need our attention now more than ever. So I created a public viewing option (click on Theatre)  here at a site devoted to the project.

A CD is still available and the edit is a bit different for anyone wishing to have a hard copy of the project. They are available on my website here.

Not sure if you want popcorn… but the piece is up for viewing.

In Retrospect

“Gather Activity Updates”

I am having difficulty posting photos on the site. I will add pictures when I get to a new location. I can’t add tags to the blog today either. (I found a way around the WordPress glitch. Amazing what you can accomplish if you look for solutions. What a concept! Maybe you all can sense I’m a bit sarcastic today?) For Action Alerts please go to The Cloud Foundation. I will get them posted here soon, but some require immediate action.

Top photo taken last Sunday by Craig Downer

Bottom photo of the hospital pen at Fallon by me

The BLM has finally “caught up” on data entry. New Gather “update” here.

Included under today’s date is the first mention of Pigeon Fever. It also includes a link to a “report” on Pigeon Fever by Dr. Sanford.

PigeonFeverUpdatebyDowner.jpg

It also lists another death for yesterday: One 12 year-old mare was euthanized for a spinal fracture due to collision with a fence while sorting.

And one on March 27th: One five year old stallion was found dead in general population and died of unknown causes.

Here is Sanford’s piece on Pigeon Fever.

Pigeon Fever at Indian Lakes Road Facility in Fallon, NV
Veterinarian report prepared by: Richard Sanford, DVM. NV# 565
Corynebacterium pseudotuberculosis: bacteria which is found in the soil, is most likely transmitted by biting flies and has a very long incubation period (weeks – months). The disease has nothing to do with pigeons. The name comes from the large chest abscesses that some horses can get, which look like the large breast of a pigeon. (Also known as “Dryland Distemper” or “Pigeon Breast”)
Of the Calico Complex horses gathered from December 29, 2009 – February 4, 2010, approximately 2 percent of the 1,922 horses received at the facility showed clinical signs of healed chest abscesses from recent Pigeon Fever infection and .25 percent to .50 percent showed more recent or currently were infected with Pigeon Fever.
As of March 31, 2010, at the Indian Lakes Road facility, Pigeon Fever is still noted at the .25 percent to .50 percent rate, mostly found in the juvenile horses. The incidence of Pigeon Fever at the Indian Lakes Facility is at the same percentages that exist on the Calico Complex. The chest swellings range from golf ball size to grapefruit size. Fly season occurs at the end of summer. Therefore, it is expected that incidents of Pigeon Fever will decrease over time. Disease may or may not reoccur during the 2010 fly season based on environmental factors, such as temperatures, precipitation levels, soil conditions, fly conditions, etc. It is noted that California had severe Pigeon Fever conditions during the 2009 fly season. It is speculated those conditions apply to Nevada as well.
Horses housed at the Indian Lakes Road facility that have active Pigeon Fever are being monitored. No treatments have been administered to date. Abscesses have all resolved without treatment. No deaths or complications have been associated with infection. Based on 25 years of past experience with wild horses and burros, Pigeon Fever can exist in many of our wild herds depending on current year environmental conditions.

Now here are a few comments:

1. Let’s look at this first

Of the Calico Complex horses gathered from December 29, 2009 – February 4, 2010, approximately 2 percent of the 1,922 horses received at the facility showed clinical signs of healed chest abscesses from recent Pigeon Fever infection and .25 percent to .50 percent showed more recent or currently were infected with Pigeon Fever.

We can now ask “if” this was the case why would it not be part of the information posted on updates? And why was Don Glenn of the BLM completely unaware that Pigeon Fever was even present? Why were the horses from the areas where Pigeon Fever symptoms were present processed and moved into pens with horses from other areas?

2. This blanket statement may be a temporary current statement about the horses at the facility but it is NOT true about Pigeon Fever in general.

No deaths or complications have been associated with infection.

Death is rare, but can occur. Complications, including infection after rupture or from internal abscesses, are possible without proper care. There is also a death listed above that I’m sure “unknown cause” works fine without a necropsy in a diseased population….

3. All I need is this piece of the last statement:

Based on 25 years of past experience with wild horses and burros,

Based on 25 years with horses and burros you consider a feral invasive species. The entire program seems more designed like a “pest control” company than a branch of the US government tasked by Congress to protect “WILD” horses as integral to the American landscape. 25 years of Equine Veterinary experience (or even mucking a boarding barn!) would create a different situation where precautions to protect the horses and the facility itself would have occurred.

If you don’t remember Sanford here’s the “complete” vet report on “Hope.”

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, thecolt 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

Link to previous post about the Vet report and time line of little “Hope.”

One of the things that frustrates me the most is that they want to talk the language of “management.” Then they claim superior management in statements like “In 25 years of wild horse and burro management…”

The common definition of “insanity” is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.

FoalsbyLeigh.jpg

More Spin than Maytag

Wanted to add this before Horseback moves on to the next story.

If you read the other three… here’s the next soap opera installment to “How the Horse Turns…” Or “Days of the BLM.”

The Big Story

BLM Spins as More Horses Die

Photo by Laura Leigh

By Steven Long

HOUSTON, (Horseback) – The federal Bureau of Land Management’s Washington spokesmen, Tom Gorey, is one of the best in the business. He’s able, articulate, savvy, and to use a term often bandied about in the nation’s capital, a master of the fine art of spin. On Thursday, he spun a web worthy of the fictional Charlotte herself.

For the better part of a week, Horseback Magazine has featured a series of articles on the missing credentials of two veterinarians attending the captured horses of Nevada’s Calico Mountains. Thus far, at least 115 have died, including miscarried foals. Horseback has repeatedly asked for the credentials of the vets who have set such a dubious record of death on their watch. Gorey finally complied, albeit in a round about way, dodging five questions drafted for the magazine by a physician and academic veterinarian and submitted to the agency.

The vets in the spotlight are Dr. Richard Sanford, the vet in charge of the BLM holding and processing facility at Fallon, and Dr. Albert Kane who is not licensed in the State of Nevada.

“Between them, Drs. Kane and Sanford have more than 40 years of experience
as equine veterinarians and over 30 years of that includes working with
wild horses,” Gorey wrote. “They each have all the qualifications, credentials, and
licenses that are appropriate or required by law. The BLM is fortunate to
have such experienced and dedicated professionals working in the agency’s
Wild Horse and Burro Program.”

But you didn’t answer the questions, Tom. Medical and veterinary professionals have questioned the sudden dietary switch from sparse desert grasses to rich hay in captivity as a likely cause of the deaths. In fact, the BLM’s published reports frequently mention the gastrointestinal condition, colic.

“The diagnosis for most of the Calico mares that have died at the Indian
Lakes facility is hyperlipemia characteristic of metabolic failure
attributed to re-feeding syndrome, he continued. “This condition is a result of the very
thin body condition of some of the horses because of starvation conditions
on the range, in combination with the late-pregnancy status of some mares.”

Horses in hundreds, if not thousands of photos shot by activists show fat healthy horses, not animals on the brink of starvation as BLM continues to spin.

The pregnant mares Gorey mentioned were stampeded for miles in the dead of winter by a roaring helicopter hired from a government contractor. Two foals were put down after painfully shedding their hooves after the stampede, which Sanford earlier acknowledged was caused by the chase.

“What Tom is conveniently neglecting to recognize is how the actual stress of the helicopter roundups and subsequent confinement and change in diet, placement in truly overcrowded conditions, etc. pushed these wild horses over the edge,” said Craig Downer, a famed wild horse expert on assignment for Horseback Magazine.

“Diagnostic and other information on the horses has been posted to the BLM’s
Website at http://www.blm.gov,” Gorey continued. “The BLM will continue to post updates on its Website under the Calico gather links as the horses continue to improve and
are readied for adoption.”

BLM DVM, SNAFU

I don’t normally post “reprints” this often but this “trail” is important to follow. This is the third story in a row from Steven Long of Horseback Magazine on veterinary credentials.

The responses Steven gets to what should have been very simple requests speaks loud and clear. These types of responses are what we receive most often. The “straight answer” never comes. It creates an atmosphere of absolute distrust.

If these are the responses to simple questions, imagine how convoluted the responses are when we ask more complex questions?

The BLM representatives will stand in front of a television camera and give a reporter a quick sound bite response while wearing a uniform. An advocate will then need to express to the reporter how those responses are incorrect or misleading and then try to represent the “truth” as we know it… and the real truth will remain an unknown until an investigation occurs.But the reporter walks off with the sound bite… and the majority of the public never “gets it.”

This example of a simple request, the type of response and the potential consequence is so clearly illustrated by Steven in these three articles.

If you want to be “educated” on standard BLM operating protocol… these three articles are really all you need.

Death Toll for Calico Now 115 While BLM Has No Credentials for Vets on File

Photo by Elyse Gardner

By Steven Long

HOUSTON, (Horseback) – The record death toll for a federal Bureau of Land Management roundup has again risen with the demise of two more horses raising the count to 115. Specifically, 69 have died at the agency’s Fallon holding facility, 7 died at the site of the Calico roundup itself, and there have been 39 miscarried foals.

The animals are under the care of BLM veterinarian Dr. Richard Sanford. Horseback Magazine asked for his vitae under the U.S, Freedom of Information Act. In a certified letter to the magazine dated March 9, 2010, the agency responded.

“We have conducted a thorough search of our files and were unable to locate any records responsive to your request.”

Sanford is the second BLM veterinarian who appears to have no credentials on file with the bureau. Dr. Albert Kane, who has worked on the Calico “gather” is not licensed as a veterinarian in Nevada according to state records. Sanford holds a Nevada vet license.

According to a physician, veterinarian, and emergency medical technician contacted by Horseback Magazine, virtually all medical professionals have credentials on file where they are employed and carry them as well.

These same professionals have raised questions regarding moving wild horses from a sparse diet of desert grass to one of rich hay as soon as they were captured. They have raised questions that the Calico tragedies are the result of gastrointestinal problems such as colic.

Dr. Kane, BLM DVM?

Reprint from Horseback Online

The Big Story

Unlicensed Vet Working Nevada Gather Where 113 Horses Have Died or Have Been Miscarried

By Steven Long

Photo by Laura Leigh

HOUSTON, (Horseback) – A government veterinarian working for the Bureau of Land Management in its Nevada office has treated horses there without a state license.

At least 113 captured horses have either died or been miscarried after a grueling chase by helicopter over rocky mountain land in the dead of winter.

Horseback Magazine confirmed late Monday in a check with the Nevada Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners that there is no record of a veterinary license for Dr. Albert Kane. Last month the magazine sought the vitae of the veterinarian but the BLM refused to supply it.

Kane is a Veterinary Medical Officer with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Animal Health Policy and Programs staff. In this position he serves as a staff veterinarian and advisor for the BLM Wild Horse and Burro Program, according to spokeswoman JoLynn Worley.

“Dr. Kane doesn’t have a current bio or CV available at this time and has declined to prepare one specifically at your request,” Worley said at the time.

After the refusal to respond to the magazine’s request for Kane’s credentials, a request for that information under the Freedom of Information Act was filed. Thus far there has been no BLM compliance on the FOIA.

The 113 dead horses came from BLM’s Calico Wild Horse Management Area in Northern Nevada. The “gather” was a tightly controlled operation in which press and public was held in a viewing area far from the actual roundup and helicopter driven stampede.

Horses captured in the operation are now held in the BLM’s Fallon processing facility.

Horseback Magazine has now asked the BLM if Kane is licensed elsewhere other than in Nevada.

The Fallon facility is under tight control with press and public barred from observing horse processing in other than rare and brief media days and observation opportunities.

Opponents of the gathers have charged that the government agency is rendering America’s wild horse herds genetically bankrupt on its 260 million acres of mostly vacant land.

Last year, in a 68 page document titled “Alternative Management Options” the BLM discussed killing thousands of wild horses. It also addressed the issue of neutering horses in enormous numbers.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, a former rancher, has proposed that thousands of horses be sent to seven holding areas in the Midwest and East as tourist attractions. The proposal has been ridiculed by equine welfare activists as “Salazoos.”

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:

Laura,

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.