U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIORBUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT
For Release: March 10, 2009
Horses, Burros Available for Adoption in Placerville
Residents of the Sierra foothills and surrounding areas will have the opportunity to add a horse or burro to their families, when the Bureau of Land Management brings its Wild Horse and Burro Adoption Program to the El Dorado County Fairgrounds, 100 Placerville Drive, Placerville, on Saturday, April 4.
The BLM will offer 50 horses, mostly yearlings, and 10 burros for public adoption. Anyone interested can preview the animals when they arrive at about 2 p.m. on Friday, April 3.
The event gates will be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. Adoptions begin with an hour of silent bidding at 9 a.m. Saturday. Animals not taken during bidding will be available for a $125 adoption fee.
"With spring and summer days ahead, this is a good time to begin training an adopted mustang or burro," said Jason Williams, wild horse and burro compliance specialist in BLM’s Folsom Field Office. "Our horses and burros are certified to be healthy and they are ready to begin training."
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," Williams explained. "Non-gentled animals should not be placed in large, open pastures."
At the adoption event, 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.
"Wild horses are strong, loyal, intelligent and very trainable," Williams said. "Adopters love their horses for pleasure riding and trail riding, back country packing, ranch work and competition. People train their burros for back country packing, pulling carts, and riding."
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 control herd populations on ranges shared with wildlife and domestic livestock. Herd sizes are controlled 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 29,500 wild horses and burros roaming on public rangelands in the western states. More than 220,000 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 1-866-4MUSTANGS or the Litchfield Corrals at (530) 254-6575. Information is also available online at www.wildhorseandburro.blm.gov.