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Legal bid to halt planned Nevada musters

July 25, 2010

Wild horse advocate Laura Leigh has returned to court in a bid to stop musters in the Rock Creek and Little Humbolt herd management areas in Nevada.

The two herd areas, along with Owyhee, make up the Tuscarora complex in Elko County.

Leigh made a legal challenge to halt the Owyhee muster earlier this month, but a judge gave the Bureau of Land Management the go-ahead after it warned the horses were in danger of dying from dehydration.

Leigh, a journalist who is Herd-Watch director for the wild horse advocacy group, the Cloud Foundation, has filed an action in the Nevada Federal District Court seeking a temporary restraining order.

"We're talking about a matter of public interest," Leigh's attorney, Gordon Cowan, said. "To prevent the public and press from observing the government in action on public lands is shameful."

Leigh is seeking an immediate halt to all horse-gather activity in the Rock Creek and Little Humboldt areas until the matter can be finally determined by the court.

Leigh points out there is no emergency or pressing urgency to remove horses, as was contended by the bureau with Owyhee.

She wants a ban on helicopter wild-horse gathers during summer months, which, aside from the heat, is close to the foaling season. Leigh also seeks an order that will ensure full public access to observe the gather operations.

She says the bureau should not be allowed to conduct operations on private lands unless the landowners are prepared to allow public access.

The bureau, she said, was already gathering areas in Rock Creek, and public access was limited.

"We hope the temporary restraining order will be granted so the case can be heard before all the horses are gone from the Rock Creek and Little Humboldt herd management areas," she said.



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