Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest has finally put out a press release on the wild horse shootings in the Heber Wild Horse Herd.
We think it’s nice that they have finally openly admitted that horses were in-fact shot. They could not do this until they finally had a veterinarian (member of the working group – more below) and a helper (ex-brand inspector) finally do necropsies on the dead horse carcasses on February 1, 2019, when we believe they actually put out the appearance to investigate this matter.
We, on the other hand, could look at the body, the bullet holes in the bodies, including one shot point-blank in the eye and know they had been shot…but you know we watch all the crime shows so we get that until the coroner says the cause of death was a gunshot wound…maybe aliens stole its heart first, then it was shot right?!
Here is what we have learned by the Forest Service Press Release:
- FS claims 4 more dead horses than even we are aware of.
- Forest Service says most horses had gunshot wounds but STILL will not say they were killed by a shooter.
- Forest Service claims one horse died of blunt force trauma, like a vehicle collision…but doesn’t say any such incident was ever reported.
- Forest Service warns media that they believe the reports they are providing to you are not factual.
- Forest Service is still trying to appear the victim of us not sharing information we received on our tip line with them.
- Forest Service is beginning to spin the web of deceit they will use to support the wild horse management plan they are going to put out for public review and comment.
Explanation of what we have learned and why we believe the statements were very craftily written.
- FS Claims 4 more horses are dead…when we have dozens of volunteers on the ground, taking shifts and out there every day, how many more might be dead if we did not find 4 of these deceased horses? Also, did FS include the 2 unborn foals in this 16 or are there really 18 dead horses?
- The FS after admitting that most of the deceased horses had gunshot wounds still tries to downplay the situation by not openly admitting some person(s) are out there killing wild horses. This has been an issue for years, and the FS not reacting proactively and firmly has also created a situation where many in the community have come to us admitting they purchased horses they knew were removed from the Apache-Sitgreaves but were told they were removed with permission of the FS or that they just thought horses could be removed without permission. 2 people have been named in those illegal thefts of our wild horses.
- FS claims one horse died of blunt force trauma, as if a vehicle collision happened, however, fails to state whether or not there was ever a report made about such a collision. It is illegal to have an accident and leave the scene of the accident, so are they looking for another criminal on that charge. Was it really hit in the road or was it too eaten by predators to see gunshot holes, with bullets already in the bellies of predators, body near a road, and take the focus off the shooters firing near a road?
- FS asks the local and state media to provide “accurate” information. Are they accusing them of lying? Are they mad because the media has been more helpful and honest to the public than they have? Is this a threat to be quiet or to only publish the story the FS wants the public to hear?
- FS even though we reached out to the local law enforcement agencies and FS dispatch numbers has never made any real attempt to return our calls to retrieve information. Instead, we believe (but do not really know if it was them) they are the ones who called from a blocked phone number and left a message claiming to be an agent of FS LE that we had never heard of and told us to call another tip line to leave sensitive, protected information with whoever answers an 800 number, and to trust that the desk, voicemail or email boxes it goes to will not expose people who gave us information. It would be the most irresponsible thing we could ever do, what if one tip gives someone a clue that identifies them to some secretary, or someone walking by a desk etc. and it puts that person in harm’s way. We would be responsible for that person getting injured or worse. So…because they refused to do their jobs and get back to us (other than one call from a blocked number to leave a voicemail telling us to call an 800 number) we decided to take it to the agency that was next in the chain of command and turned everything over to the Phoenix FBI.
6. FS…and this is the major point of our response…states 12 of 16 horses were found deceased off the wild horse territory. This statement is the precursor to what you will read in the wild horse management plan they will be putting out this year for public review and comment.
When our board member was on the working group who was going to provide recommendations to the FS for the wild horse management plan for the Heber wild horses, we brought up the fact that livestock fences often prevent the horses from using the territory the FS outlined for this herd.
We also brought up the fact that FS has acknowledged in court cases that the herd often went back and forth and co-mingled with horses from the White Mountain Apache Reservation. However, the FS neglected to include the land between the reservation and the beginning of the boundary line they drew on a map for the horses. If the horses went from point A (reservation) to point C (Wild Horse Territory assigned by FS) how did they not cross point B (land in between that was historically used as the migratory route).
In Kleppe v New Mexico it was proven that a wild horse is still a wild horse when it walks off it’s protected area because wherever it roams it is still the property of the United States and the people. So it is IRRELEVANT that it was off the Wild Horse Territory. Perhaps people are chasing them off the territory and then shooting them.
THIS INFORMATION IS IRRELEVANT TO THE SHOOTING OF WILD HORSES. However in order to make claims the horse herd is overpopulated, or wandering off their territory because there are too many horses they are starting to attempt to create this illusion instead of fixing their errors, finding the shooter(s), and fixing the boundary to include all land where wild horses were in 1971 per the federal law, as the area for this herd to be managed on.
If FS is going to attempt to say they are overpopulated, the solution should be safe birth control, not the removal of genetics, or definitely not turning their heads while someone illegally removes or shoot them.
Additionally, we believe that the illegal meetings (per the Sunshine Laws of this nation) are irrelevant and did not meet the Stipulated Agreement of the court order. The same court that issued an injunction which prevents the FS from removing any horse from the Forest. We believe that they will now have to look at the fact that natural causes and these illegal killings have decreased the herd by approximately 12% in one year and they may need to look at increasing the herd size to preserve and protect genetic variability and viability and maintain a thriving herd as is their mandate. This, of course, does not include the numbers of horses that have been stolen or removed illegally from the forest.
Nice try FS but not good enough.