Republicans praise Sisolak for handling of wild horse issue | NevadaAppeal.com

Republicans praise Sisolak for handling of wild horse issue

Wild horses run on the Virginia Range during a horse count conducted by the Virginia Range Wildlife Protection Association in 2008.
Nevada Appeal file

Republican lawmakers have issued a statement applauding Gov. Steve Sisolak for his willingness to work on solutions to managing the Virginia Range horses.

Assembly Minority Leader Jim Wheeler, R-Gardnerville, said after meeting with them and Jeffrey Berns, CEO of Blockchains, Sisolak directed the Nevada Agriculture Department to reinstate the cooperative agreement with the American Wild Horse Campaign to dart those horses with contraceptives.

That agreement was canceled a year ago by the department and advocates say they were never given a good explanation why.

Wheeler said Berns has guaranteed his company will ensure all the horses are darted regardless of the budget.

Berns said responsible birth control measures are essential to the wellbeing of the herd.

“Thank you Governor Sisolak for accepting our frantic requests to meet and address an issue he wasn’t made aware of,” said Wheeler.

He said Sisolak not only listened and learned the importance of the issue but acted to get the problem taken care of.

Suzanne Roy, director of the Wild Horse Campaign, said controlling the herd’s population is essential in a habitat that’s increasingly impacted by development. She said the contraceptive darts using PZP are a humane alternative to removing the horses form the range.

The Virginia Range horses have been a sticking point for advocates and the state because they’re not protected by the federal Wild Horse and Burro Act. They’re considered “estray” animals.

Advocates say darting them will, over time, reduce the size of the herd to a manageable level the Virginia Range can sustain.