Wild horse “press freedom” federal court date set

A horse being driven by helicopter during the Jackson roundup.
A horse being driven by helicopter. © Laura Leigh

Wild horse advocate Laura Leigh now has a court date in her “press freedoms” case brought against the Bureau of Land Management.

Judge Larry Hicks has set the date to hear the injunctive relief portion of the case for February 19, 2013.

Leigh, of Wild Horse Education and a special projects journalist for Horseback Magazine, began to address the issues of access to handling and caring for wild horses by the agency after her photographs garnered the agency public criticism.

She says the bureau began to restrict her access.

The case addresses the access to horses and burros from “capture through ultimate disposition”, whether that be adoption, sale authority or death.

The date was set during a status conference hearing.

During the hearing both the attorney for Leigh, Gordon Cowan, of Reno, and the attorney for the government, Erik Peterson, discussed the lengthy conversations their respective clients have been engaged in over the last several months.

The attorneys informed the court that the conversations encompassed both cases currently active in Reno District Federal Court – the press freedoms case as well as the case that has become known as the “humane care case”. They encompass the temporary restraining orders and injunctive relief granted to Leigh on the Triple B and Jackson Mountain.

Both attorneys felt that settlement in both matters was within the realm of possibility, but not decided at this time.

Judge Hicks is eager to see these matters resolved. To that end he set the hearing date on the injunctive relief portion of the press freedoms case for February.

The case will be heard by the standard created in the Ninth Circuit Appeal won by Leigh and allow presentation of information denied in the first hearing as well as by the standards set in the ninth decision.

“The process is painfully slow,” Leigh said.

“When you invest considerable time and resources to gain access to information and animal health that is continually obstructed. Yet even with the restrictions you continue to witness actions that do not demonstrate that the welfare of the animals is paramount.

“This is a gut-wrenching, frustrating process. Yet I am hopeful that we will eventually arrive at ‘right action’.”


One thought on “Wild horse “press freedom” federal court date set

  • November 1, 2012 at 9:01 am

    This is funny. How do you consider it a win when the Court of Appeal remands the lower court decision to include in its denial of your motion, a case which neither you or Reporters’ Committee cited? And before remanding, clearly stated you cited no facts and failed to brief on your initial demand for an accounting of the horses. You’ve screwed this up and now call it by another name.


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