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Bureau of Land Management
For Immediate Release: Monday, April 4, 2005
Contacts:
Tom Gorey
(202) 452-5137
Celia Boddington
(202) 452-5128
 

BLM SELLS 30 WILD HORSES TO CATTLE RANCHER

“They are unique – tough, sure-footed, and when you make a friend with a mustang, you’ve got a friend for life.”
-- Florida Cattle Rancher Larry Jones

The Bureau of Land Management today announced that it is selling 30 wild horses to a Florida cattle rancher who will provide long-term care for the mustangs on his 1,000-acre ranch.

Larry Jones, who owns and operates the Sarasota-area LB Ranch, is buying 16 mares and 14 geldings from the BLM under a new law passed by Congress.

“Our agency is delighted to announce this sale to Mr. Jones, a rancher whose love for mustangs has led him to provide a home for 30 wild horses. The BLM encourages other ranchers who are interested in providing long-term care to consider buying wild horses available for sale,” BLM Director Kathleen Clarke said.

Jones and his wife, Barbara, run more than 500 cattle on their ranch. He says he has loved mustangs since he was a young man.

“I’ve spent a lot of time with them,” Jones said. “They taught me how to be a cowboy. They are unique – tough, sure-footed, and when you make a friend with a mustang, you’ve got a friend for life.”

The BLM has sold, or is completing the sales of, more than 1,400 wild horses under a law (Section 142 of Public Law 108-447) that took effect in December 2004. This law directs the Bureau to sell wild horses and burros that are more than 10 years old, or those that have failed to be adopted at least three times. About 8,400 BLM-managed animals became eligible for sale under the new criteria. The sales do not affect BLM’s thriving adoption program.

Jones, a member of the Florida Cattlemen’s Association, plans to keep 20 of the wild horses and offer the other 10 for sale to other Florida ranchers or others who are willing and able to provide long-term care. Jones said he will require any buyer to sign a contract calling for humane treatment of the animal; if he is not convinced of the buyer’s intentions, Jones said he will keep the horse on his ranch, which he has owned for more than 20 years.

Jones said he hopes his purchase will create interest among his fellow cattlemen. “If ranchers have the available land and forage, they should consider buying some of the mustangs that the Bureau must sell,” Jones said. “Those who do will be adding to their ranching experience while giving horses a good home.”

The Bureau’s wild horse sales, all of which have been negotiated with buyers committed to long-term care of the animals, have included more than 600 horses to two Indian Tribes in the Dakotas; 200 to a company based in Wyoming; and 13 to a wild horse rescue group in California.

The BLM is urging ranchers, Tribes, wild horse advocacy groups, and humane organizations – as well as the general public – to help the agency find good homes for those horses affected by the new law. The Bureau’s toll-free number for those interested in buying a wild horse or burro is 1-800-710-7597. Interested groups or individuals may also contact the BLM at a new e-mail address: wildhorse@blm.gov.