Transfer of Excess Wild Horses and Burros to Federal, State, and Local Government Agencies for Use as Work Animals

IM 2022-035
Instruction Memorandum

United States Department of the Interior
BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT
https://www.blm.gov

April 21, 2022

In Reply Refer To:
4750 (HQ-260) P

EMS TRANSMISSION 04/28/2022
Instruction Memorandum No. 2022-035
Expires: 09/30/2025

To:                  All Field Office Officials

From:              Assistant Director, Resources and Planning

Subject:           Transfer of Excess Wild Horses and Burros to Federal, State, and Local Government Agencies for Use as Work Animals

Program Area:  The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Wild Horse and Burro Program (WH&B)

Purpose:  This Instruction Memorandum (IM) establishes policy and guidance for exercising the authority to transfer excess wild horses and burros currently in BLM holding to other Federal, State, and local government agencies for use as work animals. 

Administrative or Mission Related:  Mission.

Policy/Action:  When processing a transfer request from a Federal, State, or local government agency, the BLM should implement the following steps:

  1. Upon being contacted by a Federal, State and/or local government agency, the BLM Office of Jurisdiction (OOJ), defined as either a state/district/field office or off-range corral, asks the requesting government agency to provide the following information in writing on official agency letterhead:
    1. Requesting agency’s name, address, email address, phone number, and primary point of contact.
    2. Address and description of the facility in which the animal(s) will be permanently housed after the transfer, including, but not limited to, corral and shelter dimensions and materials.
    3. List age, species, sex, and number of animals requested and any special needs or concerns that should be considered if the BLM OOJ is asked to select the animal(s).
    4. Whether requesting trained (halter- or saddle-started) or untrained animals.
    5. Description of the type of work for which the animal(s) will be used by the requesting agency.
    6. Statement certifying that the agency will not: (i) destroy the animal(s) in a way that results in their destruction for processing into commercial products; (ii) sell or otherwise transfer the animal(s) in a way that results in their destruction for processing into commercial products; or (iii) euthanize the animal(s) except upon the recommendation of a qualified veterinarian, in cases of severe injury, illness, or advanced age.
    7. Arrange a date the Federal, State, or local government agency will select and pick up the animal(s) from the approved BLM location. The selection and pick-up date is tentative until approved and coordinated by OOJ. If an agency requests the BLM OOJ select the animals for the agency, they only need to provide a pick-up date.
  2. If the BLM approves a Federal, State and/or local government agency’s request, the BLM OOJ shall identify animals available for selection according to the agency’s request and engage the National Shipping Coordinator for assistance, if needed.
  3. When BLM is transferring animals to a requesting agency that has not previously received animals, the BLM OOJ shall contact the Wild Horse and Burro Program System (WHBPS) User Representative with the requesting agency’s information. The WHBPS User Representative will create necessary fields in WHBPS in preparation for the transfer.
  4. The BLM OOJ shall enter the appropriate information on each transferred animal into WHBPS. The Animal Transfer Release Letter (Attachment 1) will be generated by WHBPS upon completion of data entry by BLM OOJ.
  5. BLM OOJ shall provide the Animal Transfer Release Letter to the requesting agency at time of pick-up.
  6. The WHBPS will maintain the official record which includes the requesting agency name, date of transfer and originating office for animals transferred to agencies.

Timeframe:  This IM and the policy set forth herein is effective immediately.

Budget Impact:  Based on FY 2021 data, cost savings of nearly $2,260 annually is achieved for each excess animal transferred to Federal, State, or local government agencies and not maintained at the BLM’s expense in off-range corrals.

Background:  Congress originally authorized the BLM to transfer excess wild horses and burros that have been removed from the public lands to Federal, State, and local government agencies for use as work animals in 2017, with the following language: Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Secretary of the Interior may transfer excess wild horses or burros that have been removed from the public lands to other Federal, State, and local government agencies for use as work animals:  Provided, That the Secretary may make any such transfer immediately upon request of such Federal, State, or local government agency: Provided further, That any excess animal transferred under this provision shall lose its status as a wild free-roaming horse or burro as defined in the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act: Provided further, That any Federal, State, or local government agency receiving excess wild horses or burros as authorized in this section shall not: destroy the horses or burros in a way that results in their destruction into commercial products; sell or otherwise transfer the horses or burros in a way that results in their destruction for processing into commercial products; or euthanize the horses or burros except upon the recommendation of a licensed veterinarian, in cases of severe injury, illness, or advanced age.

Manual/Handbook Sections Affected:  This IM supersedes the Adoption of Wild Horses and Burros Handbook, H 4750-2, Chapter 2 – General Adoption Requirements and Procedures, Section A – 3 (Adoption Application – Adoptions to Other Federal Agencies, States, Counties and Cities).

Coordination:  The transfer process shall be coordinated with the facility managers, WHB specialists, WHB Washington Office, and Program staff.

Contact:  Questions concerning this policy should be directed to Paul McGuire, Acting Off-Range Branch Chief, Wild Horse and Burro Program at (405) 826-3036 or by email at pmcguire@blm.gov.

 

Signed by:                                    Authenticated by:
David Jenkins                              Robert M. Williams
Assistant Director                        Division of Regulatory Affairs and Directives,(HQ-630)
Resources and Planning

 

2 Attachments

  1. Animal Transfer Release Letter Example (1 p)
  2. Animal Transfer Release Letter Template (1 p)