For Release: April 15, 2008
Contact: BLM: Jeff Fontana (530) 252-5332
BLM to Offer Horses and Burros for Adoption in Santa Rosa
Direct from the public ranges of northeast California and northwest Nevada, wild horses and burros are headed for the Sonoma County Fairgrounds in Santa Rosa, where they will be offered for public adoption Saturday, May 3.
The U. S. Bureau of Land Management will offer 30 mustangs and 10 wild burros during the event that runs from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. There will be an hour of silent bidding beginning at 9 a.m.
Adoptions will be on a first-come, first served basis beginning at 10 a.m. After bidding, the BLM adoption fee is $125 per animal.
Anyone interested can get a preview look at the animals when they arrive at the fairgrounds Friday, May 2, at about 2 p.m.
"These animals are young, healthy and ready to train for pleasure riding, competition or work," said Pardee Bardwell, a BLM wild horse and burro specialist from Ukiah. "All animals are certified healthy. Adopters will receive a complete set of vaccination and health care records."
To qualify, adopters must be at least 18 years old and have no convictions for inhumane treatment of animals. BLM staff members will interview all prospective adopters to be sure they meet the BLM adoption requirements.
Newly adopted horses and burros must be kept in corrals with at least 400 square feet of space per animal (20 feet by 20 feet), surrounded by a fence built of pipe or boards. Six-foot fences are required for adult horses.
Horses under 18 months old can be kept in corrals with five-foot fences, and four-and-a-half-foot fences are allowed for burros. Adopters must provide a two-sided, roofed shelter to provide protection from extreme weather.
"Adopted animals should be kept in this corral until they can be approached, handled, haltered and led," Bardwell explained. "Non-gentled animals should not be placed in large, open pastures."
Adopters must provide a halter and lead rope. BLM wranglers will halter and load adopted animals. Adult horses must be transported in stock trailers with side-swinging gates.
Title to adopted wild horses and burros remains with the federal government for one year. After providing a year of good care, adopters can receive title. The BLM or a representative will check on the condition of the animal during the adoption period.
"Adopters love their horses for all kinds of riding, including trail riding, back country packing, ranch work and competition. People train their burros for back country packing, pulling carts, and riding," Bardwell said.
Wild horses and burros are protected by a federal law, the Wild and Free Roaming Horses and Burros Act. The law recognizes the animals as "living symbols of the historic and pioneer spirit of the west," and requires the BLM to manage the wild herds.
The BLM periodically gathers horses and burros to manage herd populations on ranges shared with wildlife and domestic livestock to ensure there is sufficient feed and water for all range users, and to ensure that natural resources are not over-used.
There are about 29,000 wild horses and burros roaming on public rangelands in the western states. More than 219,000 animals have been placed in private care since the BLM’s Adopt-a-Horse-or-Burro Program began in the early 1970s.
For additional information on the adoption event or wild horse management, contact the BLM toll free at 866-4MUSTANGS or Bardwell at (707) 468-4055. Information is also available online at www.wildhorseandburro.blm.gov.
Ukiah Field Office 2550 North State St. Ukiah, CA 95482