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February 16, 2006
In Reply Refer To:
4700 (WO-260) P
Information Bulletin No. 2006-063
To:              All Washington Office and Field Office Officials
From:          Assistant Director, Renewable Resources and Planning
Subject:       Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and Public Lands Council’s (PLC) Letters to Permittees encouraging the
Purchase of Older Wild Horses
Letters encouraging the purchase of older wild horses will be sent to the more than 16,000 grazing permittees the week of February 20, 2006. The first letter is from Kathleen Clarke, BLM Director to Mike Byrne, President, Public Lands Council (PLC) thanking the PLC for their support in helping to find good homes for the wild horses that are more than 10 year old and must be sold. The second letter is from Mike Byrne to all grazing permittees encouraging them to consider purchasing older wild horses. The letters explain that because of a change in law, the BLM must sell the older horses (more than 10 years of age) and encourages the public land ranchers to purchase some of the animals. The letter asks those who are interested to call 1-800-710-7597 (answered in the Washington, DC Office), e-mail wildhorse@blm.gov (answered in the Washington, DC Office), or to talk to their local BLM Manager.
Why is the BLM selling these horses?
A: The Department of the Interior’s Fiscal Year 2005 Omnibus Appropriation Act (PL 108-447, Division E, Title 1, Section 142), which amended the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act (PL 92-195), requires the BLM to sell gathered wild horses and burros that are more that 10 years of age or have been offered unsuccessfully for adoption at least three times.
Why is the BLM and the PLC encouraging ranchers to purchase older wild horses?
A: Public Land Ranchers understand the importance of managing the horses in balance with other rangeland resources and uses. The cost for caring for horses that were removed from the range to reach appropriate management levels is enormous and strains the BLM’s ability to deliver other services. Interest and advocacy groups’ response to the purchasing of older animals has been very limited. Now more than ever, stewards from the ranching community who care about the public lands are needed to step up and purchase these horses.

Are the local BLM managers responsible for selling horses to ranchers?
A: All sales are being completed in the Washington, DC Office. However, when your public land ranchers contact you about the letters, please tell them that this is a legitimate offer and that the BLM needs their help. Presently, 7,000 horses are available for sale. Also explain that the goal of this program is to find good long-term care for these animals. Please inform the rancher that a representative from the National Wild Horse and Burro Program Office will contact him/her to complete the sale.
How many animals can a rancher buy?
A:  A rancher can buy as many older horses as he/she can accommodate on his/her land. The BLM will deliver at least 20 horses directly to the rancher or to a central location for pickup. If a rancher only wants one or two animals, they can pick the animals up at the nearest BLM wild horse and burro facility. 
What is the price to buy one of these horses?
A: Older wild horses will be sold to Public Land Ranchers for $10 each. 
What information does the local BLM manager need to provide to the BLM, National Wild Horse and Burro Program Office in Washington, DC about ranchers interested in purchasing animals?
A: Please provide the rancher’s name, address, daytime phone number, and the number of horses the rancher is interested in purchasing to Don Glenn at 202-452-5082, Sharon Kipping at 202-452-7753, or Sally Spencer at 202-452-5196.
How should ranchers contact the BLM, National Wild Horse and Burro Program Office in Washington, DC directly if they are interested in purchasing animals?
A: Ranchers can call 1-800-710-7597 or e-mail their request to wildhorse@blm.gov.
Is the BLM vaccinating and de-worming the saleable horses removed from long-term holding?
A: No. The horses were vaccinated and de-wormed prior to their placement into long-term holding, but have not been treated since that time. They will have a current health certificate, coggins test, and any vaccinations required to cross state lines.
Will the sale animals be marked differently than adopted animals?
A: Yes. All animals removed from the range, including those offered for adoption, will continue to be freeze marked with a unique number on the left side of the neck using the angle numeric system. In addition to the standard identification freeze mark, all sale-eligible animals will be freeze marked with a three-inch symbol on the left side of the neck to distinguish between sold and adopted animals.

How will BLM transfer ownership?
A: Upon approval and completion of each sale, the purchaser will be provided with a bill of sale.
Can BLM freeze marked horses be grazed on public lands by grazing permittees in areas where wild horses did not exist in 1971?
A: Permittees who hold grazing permits that authorize horse use can legitimately graze freeze marked horses that have been titled or sold in accordance with and subject to the terms and conditions of their permits and the grazing regulations, regardless if that use occurs in areas where wild horses did not exist in 1971.
Excess wild horses and burros removed from public lands are either placed in the adoption program or sold. Ownership of most adopted animals passes from the government to the adopter after a year of care by the adopter. When animals are sold, ownership passes immediately to the new owner. Both titled animals and those that are sold lose their status as wild horses and burros and become private property.
The Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971 (Public Law 92-195) states in section 10 that: “Nothing in this Act shall be construed to authorize the Secretary to relocate wild fee-roaming horses or burros to areas of the public lands where they do not presently exist.” However, it also states in section 3 that “Wild free-roaming horses and burros or their remains shall lose their status as wild free-roaming horses or burros and shall no longer be considered as falling within the purview of this Act- (1) upon passage of title…” In addition, the sale authority amendment provides: “Any excess animals sold under this provision shall no longer be considered to be a wild free-roaming horse or burro for purposes of this Act.”   Under these provisions, the passage of ownership for adopted animals is documented by issuance of a Certificate of Title. A bill of sale documents the change in ownership when animals are sold. Sale animals can be identified by a 3-inch  symbol freeze mark that is normally positioned to the right of the standard BLM freeze mark located on the left side of the neck.
Therefore, wild horses and burros that have been titled under the adoption program, or have been sold through the sale program are considered private property, and not wild horses or burros. Once these animals become private property, they may be grazed under a grazing permit that authorizes horse use on BLM lands.
What is the BLM’s timeline to sell the older horses?
A: The sale of animals is ongoing.
What will the BLM do with those animals that are saleable but remain unsold?
A: The BLM will continue to care for those animals until they are sold. The BLM will also make every effort to find good homes for the animals through the sale process.

Who should local BLM managers contact if they get calls from local media?
A: Please have your External Affairs Staff coordinate with Tom Gorey, WO Public Affairs, at 202-452-5137.
Who should local BLM managers contact if they have questions?
Please contact the WO Wild Horse and Burro Program Staff:
Don Glenn – 202-452-5082
Sharon Kipping – 202-452-7753
Sally Spencer – 202-452-5196
Contact: Questions concerning this information should be directed to Sally Spencer, Supervisory Marketing Specialist, Wild Horse and Burro Program, at 202-452-5196.
Signed by:                                                            
Authenticated by:
Thomas H. Dyer                                                   
Robert M. Williams
Deputy Assistant Dyer                                                     
Policy and Records Group,WO-560
Renewable Resources and Planning
4 Attachments
          4 – Bill of Sale (1p)

Last updated: 10-21-2009