The Nevada Department of Agriculture has begun the process of setting up a cooperative agreement for the management of Virginia Range feral and estray horses.
The Request for Information asks qualified organizations to help development the plan. The department has the legal authority over the horses but no designated funding or staff to manage them.
Agriculture Director Jim Barbee said the 2013 Legislature authorized him to make agreements with private groups to manage the horses, maintain healthy horse populations there and protect public safety.
He said population growth, encroachment into urban areas, public safety and traffic issues have impacted the animals. But he said it is a common misconception that these animals are wild horses. He said the federal BLM has declared the Virginia Range “wild horse free,” which means the herd consists of estrays and feral livestock. That means they are formerly domesticated animals that have either been turned over by owners or escaped captivity.
Therefore, he said they are not protected by the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act and, instead, fall under the state of Nevada’s control and management.
Information about the proposal can be found on the department website at agri.nv.gov.