Animal-rescue groups hope Internet solicitations and a deadline extension will help prevent the slaughter of hundreds of northern Nevada's wild horses.
Eighteen rescue groups from around the country have committed to pay the state to take control of the horses when they're rounded up next month by the Bureau of Land Management.
Friday had been the deadline for arranging to save the animals, but state Brand Inspector Jim Connelley said the deadline was postponed until early next month.
Some 800 to 900 animals are scheduled to be rounded up in February by the BLM because they're on public lands covering 219,000 acres, mostly in Eureka County, without a grazing permit.
Connelley said inspectors will check the animals to see if they're branded and belong to anybody. Most of the horses are believed to lack brands and will be sold. The state lacks funds to house and feed the animals.
Connelley said he appealed to the protection groups to buy the wild horses to keep them from going to slaughterhouses.
The animal rescue coalition's spokesman, Jerry Finch, founder of Habitat For Horses in Texas, said the response to the group's call for donations to save the animals has been "marvelous."
The groups used the Internet to find people to adopt the horses and to seek contributions. The coalition needed to raise more than $26,000.
Liz Clancy Lyons of the Doris Day Animal League in Washington said that without the effort unclaimed horses could go to Montana to be fattened and then be sold in Canada and slaughtered.
But Connelley said the horses instead will go to Palomino Valley near Reno and to Fallon after they become property of the state. Once there, the rescue groups can pick them up.
After purchasing the horses, the nonprofit protection groups can sell them for $300 apiece.