An isolated herd of 11 wild horses is being trapped and moved to the Stewart Conservation Camp’s horse-adoption program.The U.S. Bureau of Land Management is trapping the horses for a variety of reasons, although public safety is paramount, Field Manager Leon Thomas said. Five have been caught.When a car hits a horse, the impact generally totals the vehicle and leaves the horse dead or dying. It also can kill or severely harm the driver.Two horses were killed and a Saturn convertible was totaled when it hit them in the early morning on Highway 395 through Washoe Valley on Nov. 28, 2012. The woman escaped major injuries, NHP Trooper Chuck Allen said.“She was in a cocoon in her vehicle,” Nevada Highway Patrol Trooper Barbara Stapleton said of the driver. “She was truly lucky she survived.”One of the horses flipped over the roof. Had the situation been slightly different, the roof could have been torn off. And had the vehicle been a motorcycle, the driver likely would have been killed, Allen said.“I think we’ve been extremely fortunate not to investigate a fatal accident so far,” he said.Normally nuisance horses, as they’re termed, are trapped one at a time, on a small scale. The band lives between Brunswick Canyon and the Carson River, increasing the chances of a horse being hit.The Pine Nut Herd Management Area, to which the horses belong, has 273 horses. Brunswick Canyon acts as a natural barrier, keeping those horses away from the isolated band and from Carson City’s roads.The band’s isolation has led to potential inbreeding problems. Worse, the BLM says, people also have been illegally feeding them, drawing them closer to populated areas.When people feed the horses, “it gets them to where they’re almost domesticated,” Thomas said. That endangers the public, as the horses remain wild animals. Also, the food people feed horses does not always have the proper nutrition. Thomas also mentioned the “sheer danger of someone walking up to a (wild) horse.”“Anything could happen,” from a kick to a bite or worse, BLM Public Affairs Specialist Lisa Ross piped in.Thomas said he has been receiving complaints about the horses destroying fences, trampling shrubbery and otherwise being a nuisance. One complaint stemmed from a woman who had been so fearful of an aggressive stallion, she climbed a tree to escape.Trooper Allen also stressed the importance of not feeding horses, which often brings them closer to roadways, further increasing the chances of an accident in the urban interface.“An accident involving an animal of that size (1,000-plus pounds) can be a tragic event,” Allen said.If you goA public 15-horse adoption is planned Feb. 23 at the Stewart Conservation Camp. Inmates break the horses and ready them for adoption.
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