Advocates urge Sandoval to block auction of horses |

Advocates urge Sandoval to block auction of horses

Nevada Appeal Capitol Bureau
Shannon Litz / Nevada AppealRalph Arista of Virginia City holds a sign in front of the Nevada Legislature on Friday afternoon.

A group of more than 30 protested outside the Nevada Capitol Friday, urging the governor to block next week’s planned auction of 41 wild or estray horses by he state Department of Agriculture.Shannon Windle, president of the Hidden Valley Wild Horse Protection Fund, urged the governor to block that auction to prevent the horses from being sold off for slaughter.The horses are not protected by the federal Free Roaming Wild Horse and Burro Act because they are on state lands. Agriculture officials have been removing some of the animals who migrate from the hills into congested areas around south Reno all the way to Highway 50 east of Carson City looking for food.Agriculture officials have said in the past there just isn’t enough food in the Virginia Range to support the herds and that many of the animals are near starvation.Windle presented the governor’s office with some 1,800 letters, most of them on pre-printed forms, urging protection of the horses and criticizing the methods used by agriculture officials to capture and remove some of the horses from the range.“We encourage you to take action today to ensure our 41 horses being held at the prison in Carson City do not go to auction next week, January 9, and those and all future horses removed from the range be handedover to thecare of advocates,” she said in a statement to Gov. Brian Sandoval.Sandoval was not available Friday but his staff accepted the letters on his behalf, assuring the advocates they would all be logged in to the office’s records.