Wild-horse advocates seek Santa Maria residents to join forum | NevadaAppeal.com

Wild-horse advocates seek Santa Maria residents to join forum

Karen Woodmansee
Appeal Staff Writer

Photo courtesy of Judy Bivens Mustangs enjoy the grass in front of a model home at the Santa Maria Ranch development in Dayton Aug. 12 before they were rounded up.

Dayton’s wild horse advocates are angry enough over the removal of 22 horses from the Santa Maria development in August that they’re ready to demonstrate. But first they want to talk.

The Alliance of Wild Horse Advocates will host an “emergency community forum” at 6:30 p.m. Monday at the Dayton Community Center designed to find solutions to conflicts between the horses and a growing number of residents.

“People are angry, and they want to talk, and this is the most civil way of doing it,” said Bonnie Matton of the alliance.

Matton said the group has invited county officials, representatives of the Bureau of Land Management, the Nevada Department of Agriculture, area developers and residents of the Santa Maria subdivision. She said so far there has been no response from Santa Maria homeowners.

“If you get no response, people are going to demonstrate,” Matton said.

She added that some residents in the Dayton area are angry that Santa Maria developers use wild horses on their logo and brochure, but then turn around and remove the horses from the development, “when the first horse poops on a lawn.”

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“When the developers introduced themselves to DRAC, they claimed they loved the wild horses,” she said.

The alliance has obtained more than 400 signatures on a petition expressing dismay over the August roundup. Matton said the group wants to protect a new band of seven horses that have moved into Santa Maria.

She added that the discussion will include the fate of other wildlife, including deer, coyote, raccoons and birds.

“We’re losing our wildlife, our horses and everything to these massive developments,” she said. “We want them to fence part of it to dissuade the horses from coming in there.”

Santa Maria developer Gary Hill plans to attend the meeting.

“I’ll probably go and listen and hear what everyone has to say, and make any comments afterwards,” he said.

He said residents are concerned when horses eat the lawns and bushes and roam the streets where people are.

Hill was aware of the new band and said he realized more will come.

“There’s a lot of wild horses in Northern Nevada,” he said.

If you go

WHAT: Meeting on free-roaming horses

WHEN: 6:30 p.m. Monday

WHERE: Dayton Community Center, 170 Pike St., Dayton

CALL: (775) 246-2499 or (775) 241-0640.

• Contact reporter Karen Woodmansee at kwoodmansee@nevadaappeal.com or 882-2111 ext. 351.