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home : features : nature April 30, 2016

1/29/2014 6:00:00 AM
Injured animal policy stirs up many critics

Don Martin
The Great Outdoors

The story I wrote last week about the injured wild horse I found and reported to the authorities of the Lake Mead National Recreation Area has caused quite a stir - and I'm glad.

One just has to look at the more than 20 comments made by folks who had a lot to say about the inaction by Lake Mead and Bureau of Land Management officials. They all seem to disapprove of the policies of both agencies when it comes to injured horses or burros.

As I said in the story, both agencies said their policy was to "let nature take its course" with injured animals unless they were blocking a road, etc.

I want to clarify a couple of points and make a few comments.

First of all, I did get calls from Don McClure and the other Bureau of Land Management employee in the Kingman Resource Area. I understand that since this horse wasn't in a herd management area, they didn't have jurisdiction in this case. That's why they didn't respond.

OK, I get it.

This was an issue that should have been handled immediately by the rangers at the Lake Mead recreational area.

My issue with BLM is that if their policy is the same as the Lake Mead recreational area's, then it ought to be changed.

I agree with many of the comment-makers: If a situation like this is reported to authorities, they should respond and end the suffering of that animal.

One reader implied there is some sort of "mercy rule" associated with the Wild Horse and Burro Act, but I haven't found a section that allows a person to dispatch a wild horse/burro they find injured in the wild.

If someone knows where that is located in the law, please let me know.

None of the people I know in federal or state law enforcement seem to be aware of this rule either.

As to the "shoot, shovel and shut up" comment, sorry, but that kind of mentality will land you in federal court, facing huge fines and jail time.

I hope all the people who called, texted and spoke to me in person will write letters to the Lake Mead National Recreational Area and to the state office of the BLM.

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