Advocate Laura Leigh continues fight with BLM

Laura Leigh
© Laura Leigh

More papers have been filed in wild horse advocate Laura Leigh’s continuing court battle with the Bureau of Land Management over the treatment of wild horses.

Reno attorney Gordon Cowan filed documents in Federal District Court on behalf of Leigh, founder of Wild Horse Education  in what has become known as the “Humane Care” case. It encompass actions taken against conduct at the Triple B and Jackson Mountain herd management area roundups run by the agency.

Included in the record of this action are successfully gaining a temporary restraining order (TRO) in both herd areas and a continuing injunctive order in Triple B.

The Triple B (Ely/Elko) temporary restraining order came after Leigh recorded  several instances of inappropriate conduct. The court granted Leigh’s motion after the agency denied any wrong doing.

In June of 2012 Leigh and her attorney amended the complaint to include conduct observed at the Jackson Mountain operation in the Winnemucca district.

At this roundup BLM used helicopters to stampede foals during the prohibited foaling season.

The agency attempted to use an emergency situation in the southeastern part of the herd area to justify an operation in the heat and during foaling season throughout the entire herd area. The court granted Leigh’s motion disallowing the operation to move north, but continue in the southern portion.

The Court granted Leigh a continuing injunction against helicopter use in the Triple B area in June of 2012. It was granted based on the standard set in another case against the agency that won on appeal in the Ninth Circuit that contended that the issues were not moot in the area as the conduct would continue when the bureau went back to remove what they deem “excess” in the near future.

Documents filed by the Government continue to assert that Leigh’s case is about the administrative process of justifying removals. Leigh again must assert that her cases are about the process of execution of operations.

Leigh says no humane care handling standard and protocol for violation has yet been formally adopted by the agency.

“The need for a clearly defined standard has been proven beyond a doubt. When do we begin to define this behavior as intentional abuse? There is no more room for any excuse not to declare and enforce a humane care policy.”

Leigh also has another case currently active against the agency for access to the horses and burros in the system. A status conference hearing is set for October 29.

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One thought on “Advocate Laura Leigh continues fight with BLM

  • October 31, 2012 at 2:09 am

    I sincerely hope that Laura wins against the BLM. I have seen her videos of how foals are run off their feet and separated from their mothers. There was one hideous video where a “person” was kicking at and pulling the ears and tail of a burro that had collapsed in the pens – I can safely BET nothing happened to the savage.


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