Smith Valley man to manage BLM’s largest wild-horse center
A native of Smith Valley has been chosen to manage the National Wild Horse and Burro Center at Palomino Valley.
John Neill, currently assistant manager at the facility, will now oversee a dozen employees and the contracts for veterinarian services, feeding and corral cleaning.
The facility, about 20 miles north of Sparks, is the largest wild-horse and -burro preparation facility managed by the Bureau of Land Management.
“I’m excited,” Neill said, “but I’ve already been here 13 years.”
Neill has worked at the facility since 1992 as an animal caretaker, wrangler, lead wrangler and assistant manager.
He has been acting as manger since August, after former manager Glade Anderson left for a job in Oklahoma.
Neill was officially appointed Monday by assistant group manager Dean Bolstad.
Most wild horses and burros removed from Nevada’s rangelands are transported to the Palomino Valley Center for inoculations, veterinary care and freeze branding so they can be offered for adoption to qualified individuals.
The center prepares up to 6,000 animals a year for potential adoption.
There are 700 horses at the facility, but the number will rise to 2,000 by the middle of the month. BLM winter gathers in Nevada willl continue through February.
Neill grew up on a cattle and alfalfa farm in Smith Valley.
He graduated from Smith Valley High School and attended the University of Nevada, Reno and Truckee Meadows Community College.
He and his wife, Susie, live in Sparks. They are involved in youth sports with their sons Nicholas and Jake.