Monday, March 21, 2011
While we were preparing for our Night at the Races fundraiser on March 19th, I got a call from a horse tour operator who happened upon a group of kids who were just about to shoot at a harem of wild horses with paint ball guns. The horses were peacefully grazing. Our Herd Manager, Wesley Stallings was standing next me and I asked him to call the Sheriff’s Department. Sgt. Gary Dodd was able to locate and stop the group based on the detailed description of their vehicles given by Jay Bender. They admitted to their plans but they were discovered before they actually carried them out so no charges were filed. Sgt. Dodd let them know that if one horse was found with one spec of paint on them, they would be arrested and prosecuted.
We do our best to protect our wild horses but we can’t be everywhere on nearly 8,000 acres. It saddens me deeply to think about what could have happened. We have had 7 horses shot and killed with no arrests. Shooting wild horses with paint ball guns is not just a prank. It’s not just “boys being boys.” It is a precursor to bigger more ominous actions. We have a bumper sticker in the Wild Horse Museum that says, “People who abuse animals rarely stop there.” That is a frightening fact.
It’s only March. What is in store for the summer when there are thousands of people here instead of hundreds?
Thank you to Jay Bender and Sgt. Dodd for their quick action.