This case was initiated, with Laura Leigh as plaintiff, and fully funded by public donations through the Wild Horse Freedom Federation from inception through 4/1/2012
Legal Door Left Open for Further Litigation
RENO, (WHFF) –Yesterday, January 26th 2012, in a Nevada Federal Court the legal saga addressing the lack of human care standards in the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) Wild Horse and Burro program continued as U.S. District Judge Howard McKibben acknowledged the validity of concerns brought forward but denied any further action, on the original complaint, against the BLM on behalf of plaintiff Laura Leigh of the Wild Horse Freedom Federation (WHFF) while leaving the door open for additional new action.
On August 30th of 2011 Judge McKibeen handed Leigh and WHFF a unique victory when he granted a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) against the BLM and their helicopter roundup contractor, Sun-J, which unequivocally shut down the Triple-B wild horse roundup on the Nevada/Utah state line. But yesterday the Judge stated that although the plaintiff was free to address questionable conduct issues “roundup by roundup” the court did not have the jurisdiction or supporting case law to be the “overseer” of the BLM, overall.
Although the court denied injunctive relief without prejudice the Judge was animate in stating that he was and will continue to be concerned with the care and handling of wild horses within Northern Nevada and reminded Leigh and the wild horse advocates present that their actions did not go without positive reaction from the BLM:
- The Triple-B roundup was halted due to their legal action
- The BLM conducted an internal investigation into their contractor’s conduct at the roundup in question
- From said investigation opportunities for improvement were identified and a recommended list of appropriate contractor behaviors was itemized (which the Judge recommended to become required policy and procedure)
- The BLM will not be conducting any roundup activities in the Triple-B complex during 2012
Judge McKibben recognized Leigh’s standing, refused to address the BLM’s mootness argument and left the court’s door open for further litigation on behalf of the wild horses and burros should the situation warrant.
“This work is important,” said Leigh who is the VP of WHFF and founder of Wild Horse Education, “if that’s what it takes to get a written protocol to uphold the most basic premise of the Act, humane care, then that is what will happen.”
“I am encouraged,” stated attorney Gordon Cowan of Reno “this case has created focus on an important issue. Although not a resounding win, the Judge’s recognition of the importance of the issue and willingness to continue to hear these cases may yet lead to the desired outcome.”
“We found a dent in the BLM’s armor and likewise a Federal Judge who understands the issues,” said R.T. Fitch President of WHFF, “it is now incumbent upon ourselves and the advocacy to present noted discrepancies in an undisputable manner so as to permanently effect positive change in the handling and humane management of our national icons, the wild horses and burros of the United States”
Click (HERE) for official Press Release
You may receive further updates at www.wildhorseeducation.org
Amended “Inhumane” Complaint 9/8/2011: (Doc17)Complaint1stAmend