28 Wild horses still in limbo | NevadaAppeal.com

28 Wild horses still in limbo

Karen Woodmansee
Nevada Appeal Staff Writer

Twenty-eight wild horses that were part of a birth control program will be going to a good home, according to Tony Lesperance, executive director for the Nevada Department of Agriculture.

Virginia Range Wildlife Protection Association President Jeanne Gribbin, whose organization owns the animals, said in an e-mail that nothing had changed and the animals, which the state categorizes as estray, were still at the Stewart Conservation Camp.

In October, the state announced it was working with VRWPA, and Gribbin said the group bought the animals for $1 a head and was taking over paying for the horses’ board at Stewart.

However, Lesperance indicated the horses would be placed.

“As far as I know, everything is in place and taken care of properly,” he said. “I’m not sure where they are going but have been told they were going to a very good home. This is a refuge kind of deal where they have sufficient seeds and grazing.”

Lesperance said that by law the department had to advertise for them, and when no owner came forward, were then free to release the horses for minimum payment to anyone who can guarantee the animals will be properly cared for.

Gribbin said last month that two sanctuaries were interested in taking the animals, one in Nebraska and one in Oregon, which she declined to name.

A third group, Wild Horse Safe Haven of Las Vegas, which has land in Idaho, had also expressed interest in the herd.

The 28 horses were originally rounded up in 2002 and held for six years in a corral at the Nevada State Prison and Stewart Conservation Camp as part of a birth control testing program.

The birth control program grant, which paid for the animals’ hay, ran out and the state had no funds to take up the slack. The horses were expected to run out of hay by the end of October or in early November, at which point they could be sold.

Contact reporter Karen Woodmansee at kwoodmansee@nevadaappeal.com or call 881-7351.